Skip to main content

Full text of "The theory and practice of handwriting; a practical manual for the guidance of school boards, teachers, and students of the art, with diagrams and illustrations"

See other formats

W.Scott Thomas 







JOHN JACKSON, F. E. I. S., M. C. P. 






f\ n *. v A_. 













[All rights reserved] 




THE distinguished professor of Anatomy in the University of 
Vienna, Dr. Toldt, has declared that " The question of Instruc- 
" tion in Writing should occupy the first place, as the teaching 
" of that subject is attended with so great danger to Spinal 
" curvature, Breathing and digestive Disturbances, Myopia or 
" Shortsight." And the no less distinguished oculist, Professor 
Dr. Hermann Cohn, has publicly stated that " Vertical writing is 
" the writing of the future " 

Realising the force of these official statements the Author has 
the more confidence in submitting to the Profession and Public a 
manual the chief object of which is to afford information on all 
the vital and important questions that modern research in the 
Art and Science of Handwriting has brought to the front. 
Hitherto Caligraphy has been considered exclusively as an art 
(witness the works and specimens of plain and ornamental pen- 
manship extant up to a most recent date) but the latest investiga- 
tions (both Medical and Educational) exhibit it to us as a Science. 

Writing is undoubtedly one of the principal and most essential 
subjects taught in our Schools, but there is no text-book on the 
question which professes to be a work of reference and certainly 
none that deals " in extenso " with the topics which for some years 
past have so deeply agitated Medical (and to a smaller extent 
Educational) circles both at home and abroad. A glance at the 
list in Chapter XIII. will show how popularly and superficially 
the subject of Handwriting has been generally approached and 
the necessity for a production which shall give side by side the 
several arguments which have been adduced in favour of and in 
opposition to the theories propounded. Such vital matters as the 
relation of writing to Hygiene ; the substitution of Upright Pen- 



manship for sloping writing ; the universal adoption of Headline 
Copy Books ; the position of the Copy Book with reference to the 
writer : these and other topics of a like nature have received 
lengthy treatment, as on the decision in each case serious issues 
depend. The first object has been to find out " What the 
writing" is " we ought to teach and the second how it ought 
to be written and taught It is a very common delusion 
that "Anybody can write" and the notion is most prevalent 
amongst Secondary School teachers many of whom give the sub- 
ject hardly a place in their Routine or Curriculum. It is an equally 
deplorable fact that hardly anybody does write either as he might or 
as he should, and yet the efficient and successful teaching of writing 
in a school is frequently the most potent factor in its success. 
With parents (who constitute the public so far as schools are con- 
cerned) beautifully written Copy books and carefully written Home 
Exercises are not only evidence of satisfactory progress but they 
are regarded as an index to the discipline of the school, the 
thoroughness of the teaching, the neatness and precision of the 
general work and to the Education imparted. Very few teachers 
appear to apprehend or rightly value both the extern and intern 
influence which writing exerts on a School. Its virtue is immense. 
Good writing in the classes cultivates the eye, hand, and judg- 
ment, promotes habits of accuracy, observation, neatness and 
good taste, conduces to good order discipline and method, and by 
contagion infuses a salutary stimulus into every other branch of 
study taken up. Some one has said that it is better to lose a 
delusion than to find a truth, therefore if the following pages help 
to enlighten teachers on these matters assist them to lose a 
delusion and to convince them that the Science and Art of 
Writing cannot safely be ignored or neglected any longer the 
hopes of the writer will in a great measure be realised. 

The author's thanks are specially due, and are herewith 
cordially tendered, to Dr. Emmanuel Bayr, Dr. Paul Schubert, 
and Mr. Noble Smith, F.R.C.S. Ed., L.R.C.P. Lond., &c., for 
their unvarying courtesy, and for their kindness in placing both 
works and services so generously at his disposal. Contributions 
from many other friends, both in England and on the Continent, 
are also gratefully acknowledged. 

Revised for the United States. New York, May, 1894. 

















II. ESSAY BY DR. SCHUBERT ..... . . 140 


INDEX ....... ..... I59 

FIG. i. 





THERE are more writers, or shall we say scribblers, in the world at 
the present moment than at any previous period of its history. 
But it would appjar from all accounts thd*t as the exponents of 
caligraphy have multiplied, the quality of the writing has dete- 

To fully describe and depict writing as it is the wide world 
over in our civilised age, would require a volume of itself. Suffice 
it in this chapter to furnish an amount of description, testimony 
or evidence and illustration, as shall adequately exhibit the existing 
condition of things in the writing world. 

At the beginning of this century the art of penmanship was 
comparatively little practised. Education being in a sadly 
neglected condition, there were few facilities for teaching it. 
Schools i.e. good schoolswere few and far between, trained 
teachers were unknown, headline copy books had not been 
dreamt of copy slips were scarce and difficult to get, and teachers 
for the most part had to rely solely on their own caligraphic ability, 
whilst as a natural sequence good writers remained in a mourn- 
fully small minority and the numbers of bad writers yearly 
increased. Gradually however as people woke up to a realisa- 
tion of the state of affairs specially with reference to the masses 
and their ignorance of " Reading, Writing and Counting," more 
attention was directed to these subjects and the headline copy 


vtas opt Of tltfr cnpovations which merged into life. These copy- 
c books bave^rown angl increased to an alarming extent during the 
" foft^ysar$.t .We' say .alarming, for the wisdom of having such a 

variety of antagonistic styles is much to be questioned. One has 
merely to look through the vast number of (headline) copy 
books in existence to be struck with the* anomalies with which 
they abound. Every compiler or writer and there is a material 
difference between the two of a series of copy books naturally 
thinks and advertises his own peculiar production to be the best. 
But that each should be superior to all the others is impossible, 
and which amongst them is entitled to lay claim to superiority it 
is hopeless to attempt to determine. 

We present for inspection (Figs. 3 to 6) specimens of eight large 
hand copies and eleven small-hand headlines taken from some of 
the popular series of copy books now in the market. Glancing 
at the selection made (p. 4) who would not be bewildered at 
the contrasts presented ? And this is only a selection ; yet it 
is seen that in no one respect do they all agree save in the most 
objectionable respect of all (as we shall show further on) viz. 
Slope. They are without exception off the vertical or perpen- 
dicular, but the degrees of divergence from the Upright, or the 
angles of Slope, are only limited by the number of specimens and 
hardly that. With regard to their several characteristics it will be 
noted that generally they nearly all differ in the fundamental 
principles of construction, angle of slope, and style : some are 
heavy, stumpy and round, others light, flowing and almost 
angular : some very large others minutely small : some nearly 
upright others nearly horizontal : some open and wide almost 
square in their curves others close compact and oval : some with 
plain simple capitals others with elaborate and ornate capitals : 
some commencing with an extremely large and heavy hand as in 
the \* ord " Permutation " others commencing with a smaller but 
still heavier hand as in the word " Whitsuntide." 

In the books lying before us, and from certain of which these 
illustrations are severally taken, it is observed that some grade the 
letters according to system others according to caprice or not at 


all : many advance by small steps others by wide and long grada- 
tions and so on, no two series possessing any features in com- 

Now if Handwriting can be reduced to a rational or scientific 
system this infinite diversity is not only undesirable it is pernicious 
and unsound. For granted that one style can be formulated and 
projected which is absolutely superior to all others in construction, 
angle, &c., then unless that style be universally inculcated, an 
unfortunate section of the community is being taught to write a 
style which, according as it deviates from the acknowledged 
standard, is to that extent objectionable and inferior. 

And this hypothesis viz. of a standard system of penmanship 
is not chimerical, it is logical and practical. Whilst however 
the present custom obtains, and in our schools every teacher 
exercises his own independent and uninstructed mind, teaching 
from any one of the multifarious headline Copy books that may 
strike his fancy or what is far worse from his own peculiar style 
and the black-board, what wonder if the caligraphy of the age is 
the laughing-stock of the age i What wonder that our " scrib- 
blers " abound in their countless hosts and that our " writers " 
exist only in their isolated units by contrast ! In the absence of 
any harmony or uniformity in the essential elements and principles 
of the so-called systems of writing now in vogue who can expect 
the grand result to be anything but a " mixed medley," a promis- 
cuous jumble of caligraphic contradictions and contortions ? 

And passing from the schoolroom where such an anomalous 
and chaotic state of things prevails into the world outside, this is 
exactly what meets us. We can only describe the penmanship of 
the present age as a dreary waste of slightly variegated illegibility 
relieved here and there at long intervals by welcome exceptions of 
readable writing. In view of what reaches one continually by the 
post we may denounce the writing that obtains now-a-days as 
miserably poor and painfully illegible. The mistakes that are 
made, the money that is lost, the time that is wasted, the peace of 
mind that is disturbed, the annoyance and delays that are caused 
by undecipherable sprawls might rnake the angels weep, and not- 

B 2 


withstanding, except a few inarticulate and individual grumblings, 
little in the way of protest is made against what every one admits 
to be a public and national disgrace. Our prevailing handwriting 
may claim the ambiguous and questionable merit that it can be 
made to mean anything but it is no less accurately described as 
Scribble of every conceivable Size, Shape and Slope. 

The Press, the Commercial World, and Official Circles are 
happily beginning to realise the position, as evidence the following 
extract from the City Press (25th Nov. 1891). 

" How is it that of late years the art of caligraphy has declined 
" amongst us to an almost alarming extent ? Not so long since 
" everyone save geniuses, who were allowed a free hand could 
" write clearly and legibly, the reading of correspondence being as 
"a consequence a far more agreeable occupation than it un.ortu- 
" nately is at the present moment. Now it is quite an exception 
" to come across a letter that even with a certain amount of 
" leniency can be said to be written at all legibly or distinctly. 
" Indeed, by far the greater part of a busy man's correspondence 
" consists of hurried scrawls which have to be actually spelled out 
" word by word. Commercial houses are already beginning to 
" experience a difficulty in finding, as clerks, young fellows who can 
" write a decent hand. Mr. Tritton, who may be taken as a typical 
"man of commerce, told a Mansion House meeting the other day 
" that fully 90 per cent, of the young men who applied to him for 
"situations wrote with a slovenliness that was altogether inexcu- 
" sable. The public, it seems to me, have the remedy in their own 
" hands to a certain extent. If they follow the advice of Sir 
" James Whitehead, and put on one side for future consideration 
" all letters which cannot be deciphered except with difficulty, 
" their correspondents, without a doubt, will soon realise that in 
" writing illegibly they only injure themselves. The result will 
" naturally be that they will cease to pen the wretched scrawls 
" that in the past they have dignified with the name of correspon- 
" dence. The present carelessness in the matter of handwriting is 
" in a great measure the fault of our schoolmasters, who, I have 
" reason to believe, no longer consider caligraphy as one of the 


" subjects that their pupils should be taught. Perhaps they will 
"alter their minds now that, on the authority of Mr. Tritton, they 
" learn that young fellows otherwise eligible often lose situations 
" because of their wretched penmanship." 

Other City merchants gave similar evidence and state that very 
often they have to throw nineteen out of every twenty applications 
into the waste paper basket. 

But Great Britain is not alone in this sad dilemma. The 
"Detroit Free Press" declared a short time ago that not one 
person in a hundred wrote a legible signature and the same 
authority informed its readers that Prince Bismark was so impressed 
with the necessity for a reform that he fulminated an order that all 
persons should write their names legibly. The demand for a 
sweeping reformation in regard to our handwriting can no longer 
be disregarded. Of course the cry has ever been " What is the 
" cause of this deterioration " ? " Where is the root of the malady "? 
This question will occupy our attention in a subsequent chapter. 
Meanwhile our ears are assailed on every side with the one 
trumpet-call coming alike from every class and department of the 
community " Give us Good Writers for we cannot get them, and 
" cannot do without them." 

It may be accepted then as a demonstrated fact that the 
writing of the age is unsatisfactory, illegible and essentially bad. 

That there is abundant need for reform amongst our teachers 
as to the teaching of writing no one can deny. I would refer the 
reader to Appendix I. (fig. 6r), page 141. The three books there 
illustrated are typical of hundreds of cases where children in the 
school are allowed to write page after page and Book after 
Book of such pitiful scrawl without a solitary mark of direction, 
correction or disapproval. Can such teachers have the slightest 
apprehension or conception of what writing really is or ought to 
be? Did they ever see the writing at all or look at a single line 
of the work from the first page to the last ? 

In charity we must answer for them in the negative; 




THIS is a subject that has seldom if ever been referred to, much 
less treated and discussed in Works on Education or in Manuals 
of Handwriting. 

The idea itself is only in its infancy and with one exception 
has been confined to medical essays and excerpts. Nevertheless 
wonderful progress has been made during the past two or three 
years ; and as medical men and teachers are the sole authorities on 
this subject, it will be sufficient to confine the arguments within 
the limits of their united evidence. 

On the general question a paper was read by the author of 
these pages at the Seventh International Congress of Hygiene and 
Demography, London, August 1891, followed by a resolution, the 
substance and text of which are reproduced here as fairly covering 
the ground to be explored. On the particular aspects of the ques- 
tion as relating to Spinal Curvature and Shortsight a report by a 
Commission of Specialists was presented to the Imperial and 
Royal Supreme Council of Health Vienna February 1891. The 
substance of this Report will afford abundant proof of the relation 
of writing to health and will conclusively demonstrate the positions 
taken up. 

Writing is almost as important as speaking, there being no 
occupation or rank in life into which as a potent factor and as an 
energising influence writing does not enter. In the diary of the 
private individual, the correspondence of everyday life, the records 
of business- transactions, the literature of the author, the briefs of 
the barrister or the manuscripts of the Theologian and Ecclesiastic 
writing is equally essential and universal. Not only is it thus all 


pervasive throughout civilised society it rises to even greater pro- 
minence and significance in the case of the hundreds of thousands 
who as secretaries, copyists or clerks follow writing as their profes- 
sion or business, and derive from it their sole means of subsistence. 

Such persons are occupied the year round, for from 8 to 16 
hours daily, exclusively in clerical work. It is impossible to 
exaggerate the importance of an art which is pre-eminently the 
vital principle in the machinery of the Law, the Civil Service, 
Commerce, Science and individual as well as international 
communication. If we look into the origin and development of 
handwriting we find it had its birth in an age of semi barbarism ; 
that at first it consisted of the most imperfect pictorial representa- 
tions, which gradually merged into a still crude hieroglyphic as the 
basis of an incipient alphabet. Subsequently this alphabet was 
improved and modified, and at last developed into what may be 
termed a phonetic one, although very defective, the characters 
having little scientific meaning or relationship. From the ornate 
and laboured style of the mediaeval period the present Italian 
style has been evolved, and if we carefully trace this evolution 
through its manifold stages and variations, we discover that it and 
they have all been purely responsive to exclusively caligraphic or 
so-called artistic demands. Pursuing the investigation a step 
further, the fact is revealed that these caligraphic and artistic 
demands have been dictated and controlled, not by logical or 
scientific principles, but by capricious and often conflicting 

The writing, and not the writer, has always been the supreme 
consideration in the growth of the art of penmanship. A certain 
style of writing was deemed or decreed to be essential, the idea of 
protest was never entertained, and our ancestors had to bend 
cringe and twist under the system of bondage thus established. 
As to Hygienic principles these have never been associated even 
in a remote degree with the history of slanting writing that for 
some two hundred years has flourished amongst us. 

Indeed physiological requirements have not been recognised 
much less urged until within the past few years, and even at the 


present day but few teachers would be found to spontaneously 
admit any possible connection between Hygiene and Handwriting 
That these Hygienic principles should be an integral part of any 
system of penmanship whatever, there cannot be the shadow of a 
doubt, but it may be emphatically stated that the existing style of 
oblique or slant writing has been elaborated not only indepen- 
dently, but in spite of every physiological demand. Awkward 
and painful postures have always accompanied the practice of 
sloping writing. It is more than surprising that such injurious 
distortions should ever have been for one moment tolerated, but 
the power or dominance of fashion over our minds is incredibly 
imperious and overwhelming. It is not the less remarkable that 
when the subject of school postures first engaged the attention of 
the medical faculty the real root of the malady was never for one 
moment suspected and that it remained for so long a time undis- 
covered. Possibly this was after all not unnatural as the idea of a 
flaw or defect in the writing itself would be the last to strike the 
mind of the enquirer. 

Hence the various and contradictory charges that have been 
made. First, the Instruction was at fault. Teachers were in- 
different or not sufficiently careful to inculcate correct position. 
It only needed strict attention efficient and constant supervision 
to remedy the evil. Time and experience however proved the 
contrary, for unhealthy postures were found co-existent with the 
most sedulous care and perfect instruction. A crusade was then 
inaugurated against Desks and Seats - and not before time. The 
former were too sloping or otherwise, too high or too low, and 
furthermore they were not adjustable, so we got adjustable desks 
and broader seats, both being brought to a state of almost perfect 
Hygienic and mechanical excellence. Nevertheless the Bad 
Postures survived still. 

The question qf Light was next considered, but when that was 
set right the positions were still wrong and the matter remained 
in abeyance for a brief space. Last of all attention was directed 
to the Writing (the Sloping Writing) itself, and it is cause for con- 
gratulation that this attack was made ; for the unanimous opinion 


of the numerous experts engaged in the investigation is that the 
Slant or Slope of our writing is the undoubted cause of the 
abnormal and injurious postures so grievously complained of. 
As will appear in the Sequel there is no room for doubt, question 
or challenge. Teachers, Oculists and Surgeons combine in one 
united body and give an unqualified verdict. For thirty years we 
have had abundant opportunity for observation and experiment 
and we give an emphatic, unreserved confirmation to the testi- 
mony just alluded to. No matter what pattern desks and seats 
are in use, what the light may be and what the nature and 
thoroughness of the instruction ; whenever children are required to 
write in the sloping style their postures will present every variety 
of abnormity and distortion. 

The concurrent evidence of a body of medical experts and 
specialists supported by the experience of thousands of teachers 
goes to show that in sloping writing the side position of the 
body is inevitable ; that twisting of the head or neck, and dis- 
tortion of the spine must accompany this side position ; that 
displacement of the right shoulder, deflection of the wrist, a 
disturbance of the common action of the two eyes with a 
consequent delusive and oblique view of the book, and an 
unhealthy compression of the chest walls involving pneumonic 
and gastric disturbances, are the inseparable accompaniments of 
the postures required in and necessary to oblique writing. 

The directions generally prescribed to a writing class where 
sloping penmanship is taught run as follow : 

1. Left sides to the desk. 

2. Left arms close in to side. 

3. Left hands on Copy Books. 

4. Right elbows in to side. 

5. Pens pointing to right ear (or chin). 

6. Faces turned towards Books. 

7. Grasp pens firmly and Go on ! ! ! 

What can be expected from a system of writing that inflicts 
such conditions as these ? As to the writing an answer is sup- 
plied in Chapter I, it is a miserable failure ; and with reference 


to the writers themselves we get such a number of debilitated and 
deformed victims so seriously affected in lungs, spine or eyes as to 
create a feeling of alarm in medical and educational circles and 
even in Departments and Councils. 

Eminent Medical Gentlemen have pursued their investiga- 
tions into the question of postures in schools with great ability 
patience and success. Such experts as Barnard, Cohn, Carpenter, 
Carter, Coindet Reuss, Lorenz, Smith have been indefatigably 
working, with the outcome of a unanimous pronouncement that 
all the ills which initiated the inquiry are traceable to the postures 
assumed in and required by the Slanting writing. 

One writer says " The postures of young people assumed in 
" the sloping writing are one of the chief factors in the production 
" of spinal curvature." 

Another declares these postures to be " without doubt recognis- 
" able as one of the most frequent causes of crooked growth." 
Were this the only effect it would be more than enough to justify 
an official inquiry into the whole question ; but when equally 
dismal testimony is borne to the injury of other organs (notably 
the eyes) and the interference with other functions, the urgency of 
the case becomes irresistible. 

Vertical Writing is the only specific for these abnormal 
postures and their train of disastrous consequences. The elabora- 
tion of the argument in support of this statement will be found in 
the able analysis detailed in Appendix II at the end of this 
volume. The material difference between this Upright or Per- 
pendicular Style and Slanting Writing is in the Direction of the 
Downstrokes of the letters ; in the former being definitely and 
absolutely Vertical in the latter indefinitely and variously Sloped 
or Oblique. It is incredible what a difference this slight and 
seemingly insignificant alteration in the down strokes makes, and 
what an effect it exerts upon the writer. When found in conjunc- 
tion with the minor characteristics of the system, viz. short loops, 
minimum thickness and continuity the results are almost ma- 

Before detailing the several Hygienic merits of Upright Pen- 

See also Report of French Commission, by Dr. Javal (Physiology of Writing, 
Pocket Pedagogical Library, No. 2). 


manship reference may be made to some of the statements of 
Medical Men in regard to its claims. The opinions are dogmatic 
and incontestable. 

"Vertical Writing is the only system consistent with all 
" Hygienic principles." 

" It is impossible for writers to avoid twisting the Spine unless 
"they adopt an upright style of caligraphy." 

" The absolute superiority of this method of writing over other 
" methods must be recognised." 

"Upright Writing is very much to be preferred to oblique 
" Writing." 

Now what is the posture necessary to the Vertical Writing ? 
In one word it is the natural position, indeed it is the posture 
that a pupil will instinctively assume in the effort to write 
vertically. Granted that the book lies evenly on the desk in 
the straight middle position (as described further on) and that 
the Scholar has been duly instructed how to hold his pen, the 
writer's position is actually dictated by the style of writing 
adopted, and he sits square before his desk both arms evenly 
placed thereon, the whole posture being the simplest and easiest 
that could be prescribed for the work to be done. The eyes look 
straight down upon the page, the hand wrist and arm are in the 
best condition and relation for a running handwriting, the body 
is not distressed by artificial posing, the spine rests in a normal 
condition, the chest remains free from all external pressure, and 
the writing is thus produced with the least expenditure of energy 
and therefore with the minimum amount of weariness. 

By referring to the diagrams (figs. 7 & 8) it will be observed 
that instead of the oblique or side position we have the square or 
front posture ; instead of the head all awry we have a straight pose 
securing an identity or parallelism of the facial and chest planes 
with the edge of the desk ; instead of the elbows close in to the 
side we have them both unrestiicted and free ; instead of the 
oblique and hence delusive view of the book we secure an even 
and perfect command of the page ; and in place of the awkward 



sprawl over the desk we have the nearly upright position, free 
from even the tendency towards an unhealthy or painful attitude. 
It may be safely asserted that since all unnatural positions are 

precluded from the System, Vertical Writing strictly fulfils every 
Hygienic requirement. 

When we turn to the actual achievements of Vertical Writing, 
as exhibited in the evidence of numerous teachers in schools of 


all grades where it has been adopted and tested what do we see? 
In passing let it be remembered that this test of experience is the 
crucial test, which has once for all determined the correctness and 




soundness of medical theories and deductions, as well as of our 
own frequently repeated categorical assertions. It is found that 
the Evidence is Uniform, undisturbed by a single conflicting 
dissentient. Scores and hundreds ot these contributions have 


been received (from all parts of Great Britain and the Continent) 
yielding a variety of testimony covering every point in the contro- 
versy. Whilst teachers unanimously declare that vertical writing 
disposes finally and satisfactorily of the painful postures that have 
in the Sloping writing worked such havoc amongst school children 
for so many years, they also unite in testifying that the Upright 
Penmanship enkindles a greater interest in the art specially with 
pupils, that it entails much less labour in teaching, that it 

FIG. 9. 

wonderfully accelerates the rate of progress and improvement, that 
it secures a much higher standard of excellence and that it mate- 
rially increases the speed of the writer. These points however 
will be considered later on. 

' During the discussion which followed the reading of his paper 
the author formulated the following resolution, which, being pro- 
posed by Dr. Noble Smith (and by Dr. Kotelmann in German) 
and seconded by Professor Gladstone (then) Vice Chairman of 
the School Board for London, was put and carried. 

"That, as the Hygienic advantages of Vertical Writing have 
" been clearly demonstrated and established both by Medical in- 
" vestigation and practical experiment and that as by its adoption 


"the injurious postures so productive of spinal curvature and 
"short sight are to a very great extent avoided, it is hereby 
"recommended that Upright Penmanship he introduced and 
"generally taught in our elementary and secondary schools." 

Every member of the congress that addressed the section 
spoke in unqualified terms of the claims of Upright Penmanship 
to every Hygienic Superiority, and nothing could have been more 
unanimous than the feeling which pervaded the entire meeting on 
the subject. 

To proceed to the aspects of this Hygienic Relation in a 
particular sense, we would direct attention to the opinions and 
report of the Specialists appointed by the Vienna Supreme Council 
to investigate the effect of Vertical Writing upon the attitude of 
the body and the checking of defects of sight Professor A. R. v. 
Reuss (University Vienna) in Ophthalmology and Professor A. 
Lorenz (University Vienna) in Orthopaedics. Report of 
French Commission Dr. Javal, Physiologic del'Ecriture 
(Pocket Pedagogical Library, No. 2). 


For years the School Desk question occupied medical men 
and teachers. Short sight and spinal curvature continually 
increasing in number and degree called for preventive measures. 
The question of School Desks was considered as solved by a 
correct proportioning to the size of the writer, by the introduction 
of the minimum distance and the application of back-rests. The 
question proved unsolved. Children sat upon the new benches 
approved by the faculty just as badly as upon the old. . . . 
To the oculist and to the surgeon it was always evident that the 
position of the head in writing exercises a powerful influence on 
the attitude of the whole body, and that an abnormity in the pose 
of the head which is at first apparently unimportant soon brings 
in its train a very erroneous position of the entire body. It was 
also found that in reading we always turn the head so that the 
base-line of the eyes (that is the line connecting the axes of the 
two eyes) if prolonged to meet the surface of the page corresponds 

C 2 


to the direction of the lines of print. Moreover in writing it will 
usually be seen that the ground strokes of the letters stand 
perpendicular to this prolongation of the base-line of the eyes. 
The direction of the lines of writing and the angle which the 
downstrokes make with those lines influence considerably therefore 
the attitude of the head and body of the writer. But even here 
there soon appeared a difference between theory and practice. 
People thought that if only the ground strokes came to be vertical 
to the edge of the desk the base line of the eyes must needs 
remain parallel to this edge and so the whole body exhibits an 
upright posture. But this was not so. In the so-called oblique 
middle position (see Chap. VII. for explanation) of the Copy Book 
the above postulate was fulfilled and yet the children sat awry. 
It became manifest that the direction of the lines exercised a 
^reat influence on the attitude of the body and that the school 
:hildren placed the base-line of their eyes parallel to the edge of 
the desk when the lines also ran parallel to it provided that a 
turning of the head was not necessitated by the obliquity of the 
letters, i.e., provided the ground strokes stand upright on the lines 
or in other words that vertical writing is used. 

To Principal Dr. Bayr we owe the service of having first 
proved by experiments on a large scale the accuracy of the 
hypotheses or theoretical considerations we have just briefly 
stated. They triumphantly furnished the proof. The position of 
the scholars in Vertical Writing is an exemplary one ; the head is 
slightly bent and remains which, to the oculist, is the most 
essential point at a suitable distance from the desk, and there- 
with the whole body preserves a correct attitude. The desks on 
which these experiments took place were not such as to exercise 
especially favourable effect on the posture and it was observed 
that the same scholars who sat correctly in Vertical Writing at 
once assumed the faulty posture which is found in all schools 
during writing as soon as they wrote a sloping hand. In fact it 
could easily be recognised by the attitude of the body in which 
style they were writing when part of the pupils were instructed to 
write sloping and part upright. 


One must however at once meet an objection which was made 
on the part of a teacher. 

" If in a school " says he " one subject is cultivated so much 
" beyond others as writing is with Dr. Bayr and if the attitude of 
"the body is so closely supervised as by him then it is no wonder 
" that the children sit upright. It must not be forgotten that girls 
"especially. when these experiments are carried out easily exag- 
"gerate involuntarily the faulty postures of body in oblique 
" writing. Moreover the pupils if they do not wish to be in the 
"way with their pen when writing are forced to a position of the 
"hand in which they can only write a round style or Roman 
" hand : therefore the introduction of vertical writing will be 
"equivalent to the adoption of Roman hand by the exclusion of 
" the present current hand : the latter is however a national 
" peculiarity," and so on. One sees with what remarkable views 
hygienic questions can be judged. 

A reply is necessary because this solitary voice apparently 
represents the opinion of a whole party. 

Before everything it must be mentioned that the bad position 
of pupils in Oblique writing as it was observed in Herr Bayr's- 
school differs as little in character as in degree from the usual 
writing position as can be seen at any time in any school and as 
has been observed since special attention was given to the bodily 
attitude of pupils. A warning from the teacher improves the 
position for a few minutes but quite spontaneously the oblique 
position soon returns. 

Even if the continual upright position during the practice of 
vertical writing were only the result of a firm discipline it would 
be a circumstance greatly in favour of this style. Furthermore in 
other schools where no attention is given to the position of the 
ground strokes in which on the contrary the principle of leaving 
the slant of the letters to the fancy of the pupil holds good it 
was observed that individual scholars who had a specially correct 
posture wrote in upright fashion or nearly so and here any special 
oversight of the pupils was completely excluded. 

If in Vertical Writing (but this is beyond the province of the 


Medical man to investigate) the Roman hand is possible and if 
the introduction of the former is equivalent to a monopoly for the 
latter this can only be hailed with gladness by Medical men. 

By the dropping of one alphabet (there are really two now 
written and printed) an important relief would be afforded to the 
pupil and therewith also would disappear a national peculiarity 
which compels the Germans, in distinction to other nations, to 
allow their children's eyes to undergo a double strain. 

Were one to prove the value of a correct position of the head 
from an oculist's point of view this would be going much too far 
and besides would be superfluous^ for one cannot consider the 
defence of a position which no one attacks. 

This only shall be stated that Vertical Writing, in addition, 
makes it possible to prescribe spectacles for pupils who are already 
shortsighted without the subsequent fear that this will help the 
increase of myopia through an incorrect position of the head. 

That vertical writing necessitates another form of Copy book, 
that is with shorter lines, is a very subordinate matter and one 
must in this as in many other respects realise the fact that while 
vertical writing is with us an unusual thing, it is as far as I know 
a usual thing in England and America. 

" It is therefore, strongly recommended that the Imperial and 
" Royal Supreme Council of Health would support to the utmost 
" the endeavours towards a general adoption of Vertical W'riting." 


At the request of Herr Bayr, conductor of the City Public 
School in Vienna, the Commission composed of Messrs. Coun- 
cillor Kusy, Councillor of Health Albert, and the experts Messrs. 
Von Reuss, Gouber and Lorenz met in the aforenamed school 
building to undertake an inspection of the children who were using 
the upright Gtyle of writing. 

In the report now presented the theoretical grounds which 
were alleged on behalf of the straight middle position of the Copy 
Book and against the oblique middle position will not be stated, for 


this question has already repeatedly been exhaustively discussed. 
It must however be said that the results of the latest researches 
in this field (the eminent work of the Oculist Dr. Schubert of 
Nuremberg is here referred to) speak without exception in favour 
of Vertical Writing. 

The problem before the Commission consisted simply in this : 
to see in use the System of vertical writing introduced methodi 
cally by Herr Dr. Bayr into the institution under his charge and 
especially to observe its influence on the attitude of the children 
while writing. 

In this connection it must be stated that the Members of the 
Commission have unanimously carried away the best impression 
of the correctness of attitude of the children who write the upright 
hand. By the arrangement made the children on the desks on 
one side of the schoolroom writing the customary oblique style 
those in the desks opposite on the contrary the upright hand the 
extraordinarily favourable impression which the attitude of the 
vertical writers made was rendered much more emphatic and im- 

The aforesaid correct posture of body of those children who 
used vertical writing showed itself, without any influence whatever 
on the part of the superintending teacher, so characteristic and so 
constant that in a second class where children who wrote upright 
and those who wrote obliquely were grouped quite irregularly the 
members of the Commission were able even from a distanceand 
more easily upon a close view especially from behind to distin- 
guish the two groups one from another. 

Further it was evident that also for rapidity of writing the 
children in some degree accustomed to Vertical Writing were in 
no way behind those who wrote obliquely. 

It deserves special mention that the children use for vertical 
writing no specially made pens (as was stated in many quarters) 
but with the usual and customary instruments wrote a hand which 
was as pleasing as it was clear and legible. Specimens of it were 
submitted to the Commission. 

It was remarkable that the Vertical writers showed a perma- 


nently upright position of the head. With the oblique writers even 
if the position of the head were good at the beginning of the work 
gradually in the course of the writing lesson there appeared a 
marked tendency to bend the head to the left. The position of 
the head is affected in an obvious degree by the direction of the 
lines of writing and since these run parallel to the edge of the desk 
in Vertical Writing the necessity of turning the head to the left is 
done away with for the child who writes upright whereas the 
oblique writer is, to some extent, compelled to turn his head 
owing to the lines ascending towards ihe right. 

A normal position of the head must be received as the primary 
essential of a good posture in writing. Each side turning of the 
head is necessarily followed, by lateral movements of the spinal 
column whose frequent return with longer duration each time is 
without doubt recognisable as one of the most frequent causes of 
crooked growth. 

Quite apart from all other advantages the absolute superi- 
ority of this method of writing over other methods must 
be admitted, for the children who use it are not in the least 
compelled to any lateral twisting of the head owing to the kind 
of manipulation used in what we may call their professional work. 

The practical use of vertical writing corroborates the theo- 
retical inference that it does not by the method and manner of 
practising it, conceal within itself the tendency or compulsion to 
an oblique position of sitting and consequently to a crooked 

Given rightly-proportioned desks and especially back-rests 
which are suitably constructed and adapted to the writing position 
by means of which the fatigue which inevitably follows each posi- 
tion of sitting is most effectually held in check Vertical Writing 
is very much to be preferred from the orthopaedic point of view to 
oblique writing, and has been recommended for a long time by 
many orthopaedic Surgeons in private practice with the best 
results for rendering the writing position a healthy one ! 

Comment on the tone and conclusions of the above report 


would be superfluous. The investigation was so complete, the 
experiment so thorough and the decision so unanimous that 
nothing could add to its effect and authority. 

We presume there can be no appeal from the almost identical 
findings of these two supreme Councils. Indeed who would feel 
himself qualified to challenge them particularly as they are 
supported by universal experience. 

The finality of the verdict is, and must be recognised by every 
thinking inind. 

But here the obligation and responsibility of Teachers 
commence, here the prerogative of our Educational Boards and 
Departments should be exercised. Shall Hundreds of Thousands 
of our children continue to suffer the injuries and inconveniences 
inflicted by an admittedly pernicious System of Sloping Writing 
when a perfectly harmless, Hygienic and in every way Superior 
System of Penmanship is both existing and available? Shall 
health be ruined, eyesight be deteriorated, body be deformed in 
hundreds nay thousands of instances every year by a method of 
writing which apart from Physiological considerations is in itself 
a caligraphic failure (as was demonstrated in the preceding 
chapter) ? Ought not our Bureau of Education, our School 
Superintendents, our School Boards and beyond all our School 
Teachers themselves to take vigorous and immediate action in a 
matter fraught with such grave issues? Delay is dangerous, 
indifference is criminal and inaction equally fatal, both as to 
bodily health and our standard of writing as a National accom- 




IF the question of Verticality or Obliquity in writing were to be 
decided by the considerations of Hygiene only there would be no 
further need of discussion. But there are various other matters 
which should obviously receive examination and be definitely 
settled ere we finally determine the kind of writing which we have 
to teach. In approaching this investigation it is necessary that 
we divest ourselves of all preconceived ideas and all personal 
prejudice. It is not a question of what style of writing we like 
best though to hear the objections generally raised by teachers 
we might suppcsj preference and prejudice to be the only basis 
of judgment and decision or even what we think best which 
opinions are possibly or probably based on no independent 
research but are rather the natural evolution of our environment. 

The sole question about which we have to concern ourselves is 
" Which is the best ? What or which is the better or best S\ 
and Style of writing ? Are the down strokes to be Upright or 
Sloping? Shall we have Vertical or Oblique writing? If the 
latter what degree of slope is the best, what shall be the standard 
angle ? " 

We have already seen in Chapter I. that at present there is no 
agreement amongst slopers as to the preferential angle, not even 
a preponderance of opinion as to any one angle of obliquity, the 
angles in Headline Copy Books varying from 10 to 65 or even 
70 from the perpendicular. 

The tendency of modern thought can nevertheless be seen in 
the fact that the latest series of Copies slope less and less, or 
more nearly approach the vertical, whilst the publishers or authors 


base their strongest claims to public favour on this close approxi- 
mation to the upright. And this is illustrated still further in the 
decrees of the Belgian and German Educational Cabinets which 
prescribe that no writing taught in the Government schools shall 
have a slope of more than 10 and 20 from the Vertical respec- 
tively. In order then to decide authoritatively and finally which 
(if either) is superior and which (if either) possesses such an excess 
of merit as to warrant its adoption and the ultimate condemnation 
and abandonment of its rival, an enquiry must be made into the 
very essentials or fundamentals of Good Writing. 

What are the distinguishing qualities or the prime factors so 
to speak of a really good handwriting? In the first plade it must 
be legible or easily read. Then it should be rapid and easily 
written. Moreover it must be easy to learn and easy to teach. 
Having already disposed of the Hygienic element we need not 
refer to it in this connexion at any length. The best system or 
style of Caligraphy then will be that which is at once the Most 
Legible, Most Rapid, Most Economical, and Most easy to learn, 
teach and produce. Of course it is taken for granted that the 
letters are well formed and in strict accord with the accepted 
principles of construction. Assuming that this definition of Good, 
or the Best, Writing is, if not critically the most perfect, at least 
generally correct and comprehensive, it is proposed to examine the 
two Systems on these lines and to test their individual merits by 
these four several standards. 

Eirst as to 


which is the more legible, Sloping or Slanting writing? 
Which the more easily read? A very simple illustration will be 
sufficient to answer the question. In Fig. 10 there are five rows of 
right lines, eleven lines in each row. Now what is the optical effect 
produced in the observer, and what is the actual fact as regards 
these lines? The impression produced upon any one looking 
carefully at these rows is that the lines in the lowest rank are 
shorter than the others and that they are drawn closer together, 


that as we proceed upwards the lines become longer and are 
drawn wider apart, i.e. to base points at greater distances. 

These optical effects are however delusions or deceptions 

FIG. 10. 

caused by the sloping nature of the strokes. For the actual fact 
is that the lines in all the rows are equal in length and that they 
are all drawn to base points equi-distant from each other as can 
be ascertained by verifying measurement. The impression that 


the sloping lines are nearer to each other than the vertical strokes 
is nevertheless true, but this nearness is caused not by the base 
points being nearer together but from the geometrical principles 

that govern all parallel right lines drawn vertically and obliquely 
to any horizontal from points equi-distant from each other, all 
lines approaching more nearly to one another as the slope in- 
creases until coincidence is reached at 90 from the upright. Since 


then it is a demonstrated law that lines are clear distinct and 
legible in proportion as they are separate from each other, that all 
ines but the vertical are more or less delusive in their effects and 

FIG. 12. 

that the upright lines possess a maximum of isolation or width 
apart, it follows both logically and geometrically that vertical 
writing must be the clearest and the most legible, rigs, i i and 12 
in which the words " men " and " nun " are written vertical! vain I at 


ordinary slopes exhibit a fair comparison of the relative legibility 
of the two styles. 

There can be no doubt as to the superior boldness and legi- 
oility of the Upright penmanship. The down strokes are of the 
same length and weight in each column but the effect is wonder- 
fully different. It will be seen that the vertical affords much more 
scope for a bold and perfect outline than the oblique style can 
possibly admit of, and that the greater the slope, the more 
attenuated, the closer and more imperfect the outline. Now as 
enthusiasts on both sides claim superiority in Legibility one might 
consequently imagine that it was a matter of opinion. The fore- 
going remarks prove that this is not so. Our books, pamphlets, 
newspapers in short literature of all kinds are printed not in 
italics or sloping type but in plain, and plain because vertical, 
Roman upright characters. Italics and sloping script are not as 
legible as upright type and writing. This superior readableness of 
Vertical handwriting is everywhere recognised (notwithstanding the 
feeble protests of a small minority of too enthusiastic slopers) by 
the Government and Civil Service in which latter the system is 
becoming increasingly popular and general in every department. 
The instructions on Government Examination papers or in the 
Blue Books run as follow : " Let your writing be as bold and 
" upright as possible." " Writing should as far as possible 
" imitate broad printing." There can be no doubt as to the 
inferior plainness of sloping writing and as to the fact that 
Upright Penmanship has justified its claim to the maximum of 


The most rapid writers in the Western Union Telegraph Co. use the Vertical Writing" 
BECAUSE IT is THE MOST RAPID and because it can be written with LESS FATIGUE THAN THE 
SLOPING. The style is that taught by the author. 

At the first glance it might be thought that sloping writing 
would certainly have the advantage with respect to rapidity or 
speed. The slanting strokes seem to be so much freer as they 
certainly are so much longer than the vertical, that one is inclined 
to think the oblique style more expeditious than the upright. 
When we come however to enquire into the conditions and laws 


which regulate and fix the rate of pen-travelling we find several 
considerations must enter into the discussion and that each is 
adverse to sloping penmanship. The conclusions of Chapter II. 
are both pertinent and vital to the discussion. Position or the 
posture of the writer is of the highest moment. A free easy and 
normal attitude must be more favourable to and will also secure a 
higher speed than a stiff, constrained and painful position could 
possibly permit. 

If, as it has been abundantly proved, the posture in Vertical 
writing be free and natural whilst in Slanting writing it is twisted 
and awkward the question of relative speed is conclusively settled. 
The advantage which a natural posture offers and secures to the 
vertical writer must guarantee a higher rate of pen-travelling. The 
slanting writer is heavily handicapped and comes in a very bad 
second. (See pp. 23, 121, &c.) 

Furthermore it is found that the strokes which a vertical 
writer makes in his movements with the pen are quite as easy as 
those made in the sloping style and far shorter, for careful calcula- 
tions show that the ordinary oblique writing necessitates the pen 
moving over 20 to 25 per cent, more length of outline than 
Vertical writing of the same size, that is between the same parallels, 
and that it accordingly occupies that amount of extra time. A 
reference to Fig. 13 will make this apparent. Approximately 
the lengths of the continuous letters in the five lines are as 6, 7, 
8, 9 and 10. 

Now unless it can be shown that ten units of work require no 
more time to execute or perform than six units of the same work 
it is obvious that Upright Penmanship must be more rapid than 
oblique. It is not needful to say that six miles can be much more 
speedily covered than ten miles, and six inches than ten 

This being so, the amount of waste waste of time (of labour 
and material also as will be presently proved) that is going on in 
the caligraphic world is a very grave consideration. 

Gratifying corroboration of this proposition has reached us 
from the continent where extensive experiments have been made 


(in Vienna and elsewhere) to thoroughly test this question, a 
remarkable coincidence in the figures being the outcome, Dr. 


FIG. 13. 

Scharff conducted several contests between the two classes of 
writers, and states that vertical writers the best took 24 minutes 
to copy out a poem which the best sloping writers finished in 30 



minutes. This ratio is about the same as that shown in the figure 
namely 3 or 4 to 5. 

From the printed Report of the .Vienna Commission the 
figures were slightly different, "the best verticals were 4, sooner or 
quicker than the best slopers." These experiments in Vienna were 
conducted by Drs. Schubert, Bayr and others. 

Such a slight variance in the ratios may be and probably is 
owing to the short time the verticals have been writing that style. 
It is hardly just to institute a comparison between boys say of 15 
on the one hand who have written sloping all their lives and 
those who of the same age have written vertically only one or 
two years of that period. When classes in the upper standards (the 
5th or 6th year of school life) that have written vertically from the 
first are available, then and only then can an impartial and fair 
test be prescribed. Nevertheless, when under the conditions, 
which to Vertical writers are so unusually severe, Upright Penman- 
ship is able to establish its superiority as to speed by a ratio of 4 
to 5 or 5 to 6, the ultimate advantage to be gained by adopting 
the vertical system 'cannot be for a moment called in question. 


Vertical writing speaks for itself so palpably and so emphatically 
in this respect that it is unnecessary to linger long on the question. 
The sprawling, straggling scribble so common in the oblique style 
becomes compact and characteristic full of individuality in the 
upright. Let anyone try the experiment for himself. After 
repeated and various comparisons of Copy Book headlines it is 
ascertained that for the same or similar sized writing the vertical 
will yield from 30 to 60 per cent, more matter in the same space- 
length. Several books being tested page by page the surprising 
disclosure was made that where the sloping gave 20 to 25 
the upright supplied 35 to 40 letters. A glance at the reduced 
facsimile (Fig. 14) of an ordinarypage in the Upright Penmanship 
Copy Books will convince anyone of the advantage to be secured 
in space and compactness by the adoption of that system of 



writing. Then as to economy in ordinary correspondence and 
manuscript what clergyman, lawyer, merchant, student, clerk, has 

) [rsj rg ra rs 


not resorted to the Vertical Style again and again when wishing 
to compress his writing into the smallest possible space ? 

The truth is that sloping induces and begets sprawling whilst the 
upright demands contraction. Take as an independent test a batch 

D 2 


of letters brought any morning by post, counting the letters and 
urrvrls in an equal number of lines of about equal-sized writing in 
each style. Two results will ensue. The Vertically written letters 
will be more legible, and secondly they will contain about 40 per 
cent, more matter in the same space. In a word there is no 
question on this point of economy, as its strongest opponents 
have conceded the claim and advantage of Vertical Writing without 
an exception. Finally it must be remembered that such an 
econony in time and space carries with it a corresponding saving 
in both labour and material so that the advantage thus gained is 
one of great value to the community at large. 


The last quality or standard of comparison we have to examine 
is one of the most interesting first to juveniles, next to teachers 
and thirdly to the general public. How do the several styles 
affect the pupil or learner, the instructor and the ordinary writer ? 
We take the first two together. In all schools and educational 
establishments where any profession of teaching writing is made, 
the one great complaint is the insuperable difficulty in securing 
the right slope and in obtaining a uniform parallelism of slope. 
Hut there is an equal difficulty with the writers or pupils them- 
selves, for not one teacher in a hundred is successful in obtaining 
satisfactory results. First there is the unnatural position of the 
body, sideways to the desk ; next there is the awkward position 
of the arms, pressed close in to the side ; then the hand must be 
twisted outwards, the pen must point inwards or over the shoulder 
of the writer and when all this is posed fixed and obtained (we 
would ask when is it obtained) then the worst trouble of all has 
to be faced, viz., to arrange the writing, determine its angle of 
obliquity, write at that angle, and maintain the angle uniformly 
throughout the page. 

But it is a notorious fact that children naturally do and 
certainly will write vertically whether their teachers sanction it or 
not. Is it not true that pupils almost uniformly tilt up their books 


to an angle sufficient to give verticality (optically considered) to 
the down strokes, and will hold the pen as vertical writers hold it 
in spite of the repeated commands of their teachers to the 

A pupil is restless and changes his posture or inclination to 
the desk and his Copy Book faithfully records the incident by a 
painfully apparent break in the parallelism of the writing, or he 
tilts his book or straightens it and the same undesirable phe- 
nomenon is presented. 

In Vertical Writing none of these difficulties and anomalies 
distress the teacher, none of these absurdities vex the bodies and 
souls of our pupils. 

There is no artificial or abnormal positions of head, trunk, 
arm, hand and pen to teach and secure, for every child will 
naturally assume the right posture ; the book lies evenly on the 
desk and the writing follows the one direction of the vertical 
instead of the legion of angles of direction peculiar to and in- 
separable from the oblique. The difficulties of both teacher and 
pupil are reduced to the lowest and so far as they can be, writing 
and the teaching of writing are pleasant factors in the daily 

Of equal value is the consideration that this greater ease is 
carried outside and beyond the mere teaching and learning of the 
art. To the Vertical Writer no weariness or " writers' cramp " will 
ensue from any ordinary or even extraordinary exercise of his art. 
The task of writing is proceeded with under the best conditions 
possible and thus it comes to pass that Upright Penmanship is 
not only taught in about half the time that the oblique style needs, 
but that it makes a much smaller demand upon the energy or 
working power of the ordinary writer r .o produce. 

Another element in Vertical Writing bearing on the same 
point is that pupils can approximate very closely to the perfection 
of an engraved Headline, whereas this is impossible with the 
Oblique Style, unless to boys and girls of exceptional imitative 
and mechanical ability. The effect of this possibility upon the 
minds of children is simply incalculable. It is stimulative to an 


astonishing degree as the young aspirants for caligraphic fame 
write with a Consciousness of Power that carries them on to 
certain victory but that is entirely absent when writing in the 
sloping style. The outcome of such a stimulus is as surprising to 
the scholars themselves as it is gratifying to their teachers. 

A few photographed specimens of such work by pupils from 
8 to 15 years of age, and having had from one to three years 
instruction in elementary and secondary schools, are here re- 
produced (see Figs. 15 to 22). It will be observed that the same 
wonderful uniformity, and imitation are exhibited by the youngest 
and the oldest alike, and also that the parallelism throughout is 
equally perfect, the vertical being maintained without the slightest 
deviation therefrom being apparent. 

Reviewing the respective points in our argument we have 
found it demonstrated that Upright Penmanship is far more 
easily Read, Taught, Acquired, and Written ; that it can be 
rapidly traced ; that it is far superior in all Hygienic principles ; 
and that in all the essential qualities which distinguish the best 
style or System of Handwriting it is undoubtedly superior to the 
Slanting method and to all forms of oblique caligraphy. 

So far then, as to the direction of the writing that shall be 
taught, it is undeniably proved and unanimously conceded that 
it must be Upright and not slanting or oblique. 

The advantages of Vertical Writing may be conveniently 
tabulated in the following form which we think covers most of the 
ground in the discussion. They are classified under four general 


1. The Chest : Requiring an erect posture and therefore no 
compression of the Chest-walls. 

2. The Eyes : Exercising both eyes equally, entailing a 
minimum of effort thus avoiding both weak and short sight. 

3. The Hand : No Writers' Cramp from twisted wrist as in 
Sloping Writing. 


4. The Spine : Demanding a natural posture, entirely avoid- 
ing the painful distortions so productive of Spinal Curvature in 
Sloping Writers. 


1. Maximum Legibility : Proved both geometrically and 

2. Maximum Excellence : Proved by universal experience of 

3. Maximum Individuality : The greatest scope for variety 
being afforded. 

4. Maximum Uniformity : The vertical downstroke requiring 
the minimum amount of imitative ability. 


1. In Time : From 30 to 40 per cent, saving, Vertical Writing 
being more quickly written, read and taught than any slanting 

2. In Labour : Vertical Writing is the easiest to- write and 
easiest to read. 

3. In space : From 30 to 40 per cent, saved, as Vertical 
Writing is the most Compact that cnn be produced. 

4. In Expense : Involving not only less Time Labour and 
Space but requiring about half to two-thirds the amount of 
Material used in other systems. 


1. Organisation : The writers are arranged in a more orderly 
and systematic manner. 

2. Discipline : The tendency to nudge or jolt is removed ; 
sprawling is avoided ; much disorder is thus prevented. Talking 
is more difficult, more easily detected and more easily suppressed 




I 10 





: LO 






! Go 


| : 


kDJ l^pj 

i'r^ ?r ' H * 




HAVING determined the direction that our Writing shall take, it 
remains to settle such matters as the size, thickness, closeness, 
roundness and continuity (or otherwise) of the strokes, letters and 
words, with special and final reference to their shape or outline. 


We are not here concerned so much as to the size of ordinary 
Script writing as with the size of the letters and words which 
those who are just learning to write in our schools shall be required 
to imitate. Individuality will ever assert itself in limiting the size 
of every day caligraphy, but it is a matter of no small importance 
whether beginners ought to commence with a very large bold style, 
heavy and unwieldy, or with a small light hand quite the reverse. 
The books afford us very little assistance ; Manuals of method 
differ ; Text books on handwriting vary or ignore the question 
altogether ; and Copy Books are still more bewilderingly diversi- 
fied. Who is to decide ? Is it preferable to begin with the largest 
sizes and styles found in Fig. 3 (page 4) or with the smallest in 

Fig- 4 (P- 5)? 

There is a startling contrast between the extremes, and the 
world is to believe that each specimen is the best, the orthodox 
one. Many are found who advocate the large heavy writing, their 
argument being that it stretches the muscles, imparts freedom 
and elasticity to the fingers, and secures a correspondingly desi- 
rable elegance and boldness to the style. The reply to this by 
those who prefer a much smaller size is, that by commencing 
with such a large hand for little fingers and afterwards gradually 


diminishing to small hand for fingers of a larger growth, not 
only is nature outraged, but the progress of the juveniles is seri- 
ously retarded in the elementary stages ; and furthermore the 
mind is demoralised by the repeated but fruitless efforts to attain 
the unattainable, for the infantile fingers can never succeed in 
imitating the Copy, and it is not until years after, when a child's 
fingers have acquired both length and command of the pen, 
that he is, if indetd ever, able to reproduce with some degree 
of satisfaction the exceedingly difficult combination of hair 
lines, tapering curves, and long thick strokes of his elaborate 

But again, such abnormally large-sized writing can only be 
produced by what is called the whole-arm movement, a movement 
which is now condemned by the great majority of authorities in 
Cahgraphy, because of the wasteful expenditure of energy which 
it entails on the writer. And this whole-arm movement is next 
to impossible and impracticable with young children. Juveniles 
cannot write in a copy book as they would draw on a black- 
board. Anything beyond a finger and thumb movement is to be 
deprecated with beginners and certainly with pupils at school, as 
it is a hopeless task to attempt it. 

Passing therefore from these, what about the smallest size 
submitted in Fig. 4, p. 5 ? It can be successfully urged against 
this specimen that the size is too small for a child of tender years 
to appreciate, and that it is vain to exptct anything like a bold 
free style from those who begin with such a diminutive size. A 
good medium hand is to be preferred to either extreme, and is pro- 
ductive of the best results. 

It seems absurd to imagine that children just learning to write 
can use the pen with such dexterity as to produce even fair 
imitations of a word like " Permutation" or " Workmanship," and 
on the other hand such letters as those in the smallest size 
require such delicacy in their formation that they present almost 
equal obstacles. A fair medium size where the strokes and 
curves are bold enough to strike the eye and present an indi- 
viduality of their own are more easily grasped or apprehended and 


are large enough to ensure freedom, and still small enough for the 
tiny fingers to manipulate without much effort. 

Thickness. With reference to the thickness of the down- 
strokes it may be asserted without hesitation that all heavy 
writing is to be condemned. On the sound principle that a child 
should be taught that which has to be utilised in after life, heavy 
or ponderously thick down strokes are ruled out of court, since 
the easiest quickest and best writing is that in which there is a 
minimum of distinction between the up and down lines. 

Indeed it may be said that with the majority of writers no 
effort whatever is put forth to thicken the down strokes, what 
extra body there is in them being due to the facility with which 
the parts of the nib separate when tracing a down stroke with 
even the weight or normal pressure of the hand upon the pen. 
The best headlines then should have as little thickness as possible : 
of necessity the larger or longer the stroke the more body is 
naturally given to it to render it steady and even. 

Let the aim be to secure a minimum of thickness since every 
additional degree of intensity only demands an extra and wasteful 
expenditure of force that speedily wearies, and a profusion of ink 
that frequently smudges or smears. A further reason in favour of 
thin or light as opposed to thick or heavy writing is found in the 
fact that only an insignificant we might almost say fractional 
percentage of pupils can ever hope to become proficient in 
writing the heavy style, it being remarkably difficult to accomplish. 
If partisans of the heavy downstrokes be yet unconvinced we 
can produce a still more potent reason against them and it is this, 
that of all things, thick writing is most conducive to Writer < 
Cramp. The more muscular force is exerted in the act of writing 
the sooner those muscles are fatigued and strained, and it is sell 
evident that thick writing expends or requires much more energy 
than thin. We confess our inability to discover where the virtue 
of thick writing lies ; the light-stroke writers are quicker and better 
in their work ; and the thin writing, or the caligraphy that consists 
of one almost uniform thickness, is quite as legible as any other 
Teachers should teach a free light style of writing, guarding theif 


pupils against hard downstrokes, the result will then be better 
work and less labour. 

Junction. What must have often struck the reader as a 
serious anomaly in the prevailing styles or series of Headlines is 
the mode of joining the letters of a word together. The general 
rule has been to join all letters exactly in the middle and this 
rule necessitates the lifting of the pen at nearly every junction 
and frequently once or twice in the formation of a single letter. 
Now it may fairly be argued that, as Continuity in Writing is one 
of the pre-eminent elements of speed : a system of connection 
which involves the incessant lifting of the pen must be diametri- 
cally opposed to such continuity, and therefore absolutely inimical 
to a maximum of rapidity. Consequently the principle of joining 
both parts of letters and whole letters at the top and bottom is 
now fast superseding the central junction just referred to, and 
thus Continuity and the highest speed are both attained. 

Even as early as the year 1815 a Writer on this subject (G. B. 
King) says in a note " Every word should be finished 
" before removing the pen," he thus recognised the full 
value of the principle of Continuity for rapid writing. A wise 
teacher will not only cultivate this essential by and through the 
ordinary Copy Book, he will give the more advanced scholars 
frequent exercise in writing entire lines of words without lifting 
the pen, save to begin a fresh line. It cannot be too strongly 
impressed upon our teachers that the laws and rules which 
determine shape, size, direction and junction of strokes and 
letters are not fixed and immutable but arbitrary and conven- 
tional ; that at any rate the caligraphy fantastic and ornate as it 
certainly was, of a past age must not dictate to us of the present : 
the exigencies of to-day must modify the writing of yesterday and 
determine what it is to be. 

As an illustration of the pernicious effects of the non- continu- 
ous principle I would instance one letter received recently from a 
high Educational Authority. The address on the envelope con- 
sisted of nine words containing altogether forty-nine letters. The 
pen should have been lifted nine times; it was lifted not less 



than fifty-four times not including dots, crosses and punctuation. 
The letter contained seventy- seven words and exclusive of dots &c. 
the pen should have been lifted only seventy-seven times. Can 
it be credited that it was lifted from the paper Three hundred 
and Fifty times, and that it thus made three hundred and fifty 
separate strokes ? Calculate, if it be possible, the labour involved 
in those hundreds of superfluous acts ; and when it is added that 
the gentleman in question is a most voluminous writer and author 
and that his correspondence is immense the reader will be 
astonished to learn that he still survives in remarkably good health. 
But spite such rare and phenomenal exceptions as these Continuous 
writing is winning its way and rapidly becoming universal. 

Compactness. Writing in order to be clear and legible 
should not be too compact or closely written. A moderate space 
between the letters and between their several parts must be ob- 
served otherwise an undesirable indistinctness will ensue seriously 
detracting from the excellence of the penmanship. At the same 
time a series of Headlines should afford ample material for practice 
in both the open and close styles primarily the former as if the latter 
be indulged in too often a cramped style will be cultivated that will 
be very difficult to cure. The curves, hooks, links, crotchets and 
loops should all be bold and round not narrow or assimilating 
to what is known as Ladies' Angular hand. As to the general 
shape of the letters short loops, finals and simple capitals must 
obtain. Elaborate flourishes, ornate curves, graceful loops and 
elegant finals belong to the department of Ornamental Penman- 
ship now nearly obsolete, they are altogether inappropriate to any 
system of plain Handwriting. The object of every teacher of 
writing should be to have each and every letter formed with the 
shortest line or lines possible, consistent with perfect shape and 
legibility, as not only will the labour of teaching and learning be 
thus reduced to the lowest possible but many other equally 
desirable results will be brought about. 

When considering the shapes of letters it will be wise to specially 
examine a certain number of them about which ideas are both 
vague and various. For instance shall we have in a course of writing 


lessons or copies two kinds of 1, h, b, k and f ? These letters 
being geneially made in large hand without the loop but in small 
hand with it. Common sense replies Certainly not ! Why should 
we ? The rule is not consistently observed in the first place, for 
the lower loop letters remain unchanged, and the letter f is some- 
times deprived of its upper loop and at other times of its lower. 
It is more easy and natural to make a loop, uniformity therefore 
should rule the question 
and teach writers that 
shape of letter they will 
adopt in their future life 
and practice. How diffi- 
cult too, if not impossible 
it is for young children to 
draw those tremendously 
long and rigidly right 
lines ! How seldom they 

,..,-,. . FIG. 23. 

ever do it ! Fig. 23 is an 

average specimen of the strokes which infantile fingers are sup- 
posed to make. In conclusion it should be noted that in actual 
script work neither the size nor the shape of the letters under 
consideration is ever required. Taking the small letters we 
observe that r has been the cause of much controversy. Shall 
it be the ordinary script form or the Roman type outline (see 
p. 95, Fig. 27)? To hear the several champions hold forth on 
the claims of their respective outlines one might imagine that there 
were numerous vital questions involved in the discussion, whilst in 
fact there is nothing but the most trivial of differences and the 
most imperceptible of advantages on either side. Both forms are 
good as initial, medial or final, and what the first or script form 
boasts of in the matter of speed for it is undoubtedly more 
quickly made than its rival is counteracted to a great extent b)' 
its inferiority as to legibility when in union with certain other 
letters. The very absence of any weighty reasons will we fear 
prolong the agitation to an indefinite extent if indeed it does not 
prevent entirely any positive and ultimate decision. 


Two forms of e are also practised, the script and type outlines 
(see p. 95). There can be no hesitation here as to which is pre- 
ferable. The reduced capital may be more ornate but it is neither 
so legible nor so rapidly written. It should consequently be dis- 
countenanced and discarded in favour of the ordinary and simple 
form which assimilates so perfectly in conjunction with every other 
letter of the alphabet. 

Another letter to be noticed is s, and again the minimized capital 
or type form has been introduced as a rival to the script and more 
easily written outline. Of course it is a mere fanciful preference 
that would use the type s, which whilst it gives a certain artistic effect 
to the style retards the progress of the writer to a rather serious ex- 
tent. We should pronounce unhesitatingly for the ordinary script 
form of the sibilant and we think we carry nine hundred and ninety- 
nine writers out of every thousand with us. Just a word "en passant" 
as to the large number of persons who are in the habit, unfortu- 
nately, of making a particular shape of letter the test of a System 
of Handwriting. Incredible as it might seem many teachers have 
denounced Upright Penmanship solely because some special pet 
form of capital or small letter was not found in the Series of 
Headlines of the Copybooks. Or on the other hand because 
some outline of a Capital Letter which was obnoxious to them 
had been introduced. 

The small letter s which we have just examined has been the 
sole basis for a decision between Sloping and Vertical Writing. 
To judge any system of Handwriting by such insignificant tests 
is both irrational and unkind. 

Another vexed question to which we might refer is the vary- 
ing heights of the long letters. Shall there continue to be three 
or four sizes of these long letters, or shall there be only one ? 
Common sense, science and consistency would say only one, and 
custom clenches the argument, for it will be found that in the 
current hand of our every- day life all the lengths reduce them- 
selves to one almost universal height. When this is so, where 
is the necessity or advantage in teaching three different sizes? 
Certainly the labour of teaching would be diminished if only 


one height or length were maintained and that of itself would 
be a much needed and heartily welcomed relief. In theory and 
practice therefore one and only one height is recommended for 
all long and looped letters whether above or below the line. It 
may not, and it is to be feared will not, be easy to attain this as 
so many series of Headline Copy Books exist with diversified 
heights, but if future compilers of such books and teachers of 
writing would combine and co-operate there would be little diffi- 
culty in bringing about the desired reformation. 

In recapitulation, to sum up the essentials of an ideal hand- 
writing that shall fulfil the requirements of Hygiene, the demands 
of Caligraphic canons and the needs of a mixed community it has 
been proved that such writing must be Upright, Continuous, 
Simple and Plain, with short loops, and a minimum of thickness. 
If such a style and system be generally adopted and taught 
there will result a generation of writers wonderfully superior to 
the present generation of scribblers whose penmanship will be 
a credit instead of a disgrace to their country. 

By minimum of thickness it must not be understood that 
the very thin hair lines, quite impossible of reproduction with 
a pen, are meant as head lines should present an imitation 
or reproduction of actual pen writing. The very delicate 
engraver's work proves discouraging to the pupil because 
impossible of reproduction. 




THE subject of this Chapter is one of the first importance. 
What kind of Copy Rooks shall be employed ? Are they to be 
Blank copying books or are they to have engraved headlines ? 
There is almost a consensus of opinion in favour of the latter, an 
almost endless variety of Headline Copy-Books testifying to the 
superiority which in the judgment of the great mass of teachers 
is to be found in the books provided with these set copies, one or 
more on each page. Nevertheless during the past few years an 
agitation has been encouraged to establish the use of Blank Copy- 
ing Books, and this agitation has been fanned and fostered by 
certain officials in the Educational Sphere who shall be nameless. 
The Theory proposes that writing should be taught exclusively 
from the Blackboard and that children should use plain-ruled 
blank books instead of the Headline Copy Books hitherto in 
vogue. " Blank Copy Books and Blackboard Teac ir.g" 
is the cry. Exception must at once be taken to this watchword 
phrase as it is ambiguous and delusive, because it insinuates that 
Blackboard teaching is as scarce an element in to-day's system 
and practice as the Blank Copy Books are, which is contrary to 
fact. Every teacher knows that Blackboard demonstration and illus- 
tration are an essential factor in existing methods of teaching writing 
with Headline Copy Books. Every Training College inculcates it. 
Every Educational Manual imperatively prescribes it, and every 
true teacher to the full extent of his ability and opportunity prac- 
tises it. In this chapter we have not to consider the question of 
Blackboard instruction at all, that having been settled by universal 
consent long long ago, but we have to investigate the merits of 


Blank Copy Books as opposed to Headline Copy Books and to 
answer the query with which this chapter began viz. : "What kind 
of Copy Books shall be used ? " 

So far as can be gathered from external sources the chief if 
not the only reason urged for the adoption of Blank Books is that 
under existing conditions, where Headline Books are adopted, the 
temptation to neglect Blackboard instruction is too strong for the 
great body of overworked teachers, particularly assistant teachers, 
to resist. It is said that with Headline Books the teacher is too 
often satisfied with merely having the books distributed to the 
class and after starting the pupils to their work leaving them to 
their own devices and resources for the whole of the interval 
devoted to writing. 

Assuming (for the purpose of argument) that these premises 
.are true it is not certain that the conclusion is much to be deplored 
as thousands of teachers would not consider such a mode of 
teaching as an unmitigated or serious evil. It is asserted more- 
over that the only way to ensure faithful discharge of duty in 
teaching writing is to provide nothing but blank Copy Books for 
the scholars to write in. Assistants will then be compelled to utilize 
the Blackboard (at least so far as to set the copies) and thus 
children will have the immense advantage of seeing the writing 
actually produced, will observe the modes of junction and will also 
witness the tracing of the several complexities of formation which 
so painfully abound in our script alphabet (at any rate so far as 
they choose to attend to it). Other reasons for the proposed sub- 
stitution of Blank Copying-Books are however to be found and 
will be fully discussed in the proper place. Meanwhile it will be 
advisable to look a little more closely into this proposed security 
against dereliction of duty on the part of the teacher, and into the 
incalculable ( !) and otherwise unattainable benefit on the part of the 
scholar. It certainly would seem to the ordinary intelligence that 
if any given teacher were either too indifferent or too busy to use 
the Blackboard in class when enjoying the substantial aid of 
Headline Copy Books, it will be still more unlikely or still more 
impracticable for him when deprived of that aid and when 


burdened with the extra duty of compiling, arranging, and setting 
the copies himself. Surely it is difficult to conceive how when a 
teacher through overwork is obliged to omit certain items, we are 
to secure the performance of those items by increasing his work 
and multiplying its details. Is it not reasonable to conclude that 
the assistant who was previously content to allow his pupils to 
imitate or parody the Copy Book headlines without note, comment 
or reference to the Blackboard, as an effective adjunct to his 
teaching, will be more than satisfied that his duty is performed to 
the full when he has hastily or otherwise traced on that Black- 
board the writing copy for the day ? Obviously there is not the 
smallest inducement nor guarantee in the projected innovation that 
any teacher will be one whit more conscientious or even puncti- 
lious in his Blackboard demonstration, but there evidently are for 
many reasons positive and stronger temptations than before to 
entirely disregard the responsibility. 

But what of the benefit to the pupil in seeing the master (or 
mistress) write the Copy on the Blackboard ? If there is any real 
advantage in such a sight it is just as available and profitable in 
conjunction with Headline Copy Books, and can therefore be 
employed equally in both kinds of writing books. It is not diffi- 
cult to show however that the total absence of this exaggerated 
boon is hardly a material loss to the scholars. The argument on 
these lines may therefore be summarily dismissed as being worth- 
less in advocating the claims of Blank Copying books. 

If the new Candidate for public support be more particularly 
examined the investigator is surprised at the number of objections 
and defects which immediately start into view, any one of which 
in itself is or ought to be sufficient to determine the issue. 


Of course, and evidently, the first and one of the gravest 
defects in Blank Copying Books is the absence of Perfect or 
Accurate Copies and the presence of nothing save Imperfect and 
Inaccurate Models. Pupils are to have plain-ruled books in 


order to fill them up with approximate imitations of the defective 
Blackboard models. They are never to see anything outside 
these blank books but the very imperfect writing often indeed 
little better than caricatures of their respective teachers. They 
are never to see anything inside their books but their own faulty and 
distorted outlines. Nothing from cover to cover but indifferent, 
crude and in most instances wretchedly bad writing. Looking over 
the pages of his book, as the pupil is sure to do again and again, 
he sees no standard of perfection to counteract the demoralising 
influence of a continual familiarity with that which is essentially 
inferior and inevitably the writer's own Scrawl becomes his ideal 
which the occasional glimpse of his teacher's flourishing on the 
Blackboard, when setting the Copy, entirely fails to remove or 
destroy. And when may we expect a child to rise above his 
ideal ? A remarkable rejoinder is here met with. " The boys or 
"girls will be forced to look at the Copy on the Blackboard when 
"writing in blank books. Whereas in Headline Copy Books 
"pupils simply copy the Headline once and then -proceed to 
"imitate their own handiwork, making mistakes, repeating them 
" and growing worse and worse until they reach the last line in 
" the page.* When they use blank books they cannot perpetrate this 
" abomination. In blank books the writing will improve line by 
" line down the page, and we thus get rid once and for ever of 
"that annoyance to teachers which results in such disastrous 
" Scribble." 

Is not this the ne plus ultra of nonsense or obtuseness ? How 
shall we, how can we reply to these statements ? Is there any 
conceivable cause why a lazy or stupid child, who will not take 
the trouble to look at and try to imitate a headline under his very 
eyes and only two or three inches from his pen, will exeit himself 
still more energetically to refer to and try to imitate a copy ten to 
twenty feet distant from him ? Is there not rather every reason 
to conclude, that a page of blank book writing will, as it proceeds 
downwards, deteriorate in a much greater degree than a page of 
Headline writing, where the writer can hardly avoid looking at the 
perfect model times and again whilst the lines are being written ? 

* Reproduction or imitation of pupil's own writing can be entirely overcome by 
using the writing pads which are designed especially to overcome this and other diffi- 
culties in teaching. 


If it is proposed to supply a panacea for this disease of page 
degeneration by withdrawing the only sentinel that keeps guard 
over the page, by removing the only standard of comparison 
contrast and appeal from every leaf of the Copybook, by getting 
rid of the only check ever present check upon such deterio- 
ration the remedy is worse than the disease and is devoid of the 
most essential ingredient in such specific viz. a perfect Model to 
Copy from. 

However let us enquire what is offered by way of substitute 
for this Perfect Model? What does the Blank Book System offer 
in lieu of a perfectly engraved Headline? Blackboard Copies, 
written, sketched, or scribbled by Principals, Assistants, Pupil 
Teachers, and Monitors ! When it is an admitted fact that 
about three-fourths of all the teachers in the United States are 
really unable to write a creditable, much less a faultless, copy on 
the Blackboard where are the specimens of good caligraphy to 
come from ? * Until the System of Upright Penmanship becomes 
general there will not be the remotest possibility of our teachers 
becoming qualified Writing Masters. Why then agitate for the 
impossible and expect from our teachers what they are utterly unable 
to supply? No rational mind can imagine that the faulty copy 
drawn in chalk on a Blackboard can or will be accepted as an 
adequate substitute for the carefully engraved copy in the 
Headline Book. Scores, yea hundreds of these Blackboard 
copies, written by every rank of teacher, have come undei our 
observation, and we have no hesitation in saying that in the large 
proportion of them no Inspector would pass them as fair. One 
or two in every score might possibly approach to the regularity 
and accuracy required in a writing Copy, but this proportion is 
more fanciful than real. Is the principle underlying this inno- 
vation tolerated in other branches of a schoo 1 curriculum ? I )o 
we adorn the walls of our School-rooms with base parodies of 
geographical, botanical, and zoological subjects liiiined by the 
veriest tyros in art ? 

Do we furnish art classes with drawing copies, or physiological 

* See note, p. 72. 


diagrams, roughly and hurriedly outlined by mere beginners or 
untalented novices ? Never ! Do we not the rather take infinite 
pains to secure the brightest, the truest, and the best maps, 
diagrams, and illustrations which shall have been produced by 
our finest experts or specialists in their respective departments? 

Why then, in a subject that pertains to every man's daily life, is 
it suggested to offer nothing but second- or third-rate models, the 
creations in great part of ignorant, inexperienced or unqualified 
individuals for our children to imitate ? A system of this kind 
will inevitably lower the standard of penmanship and begin a 
decline in the art of caligraphy ; for the removal of an established 
and high standard, and the substitution of an imperfect and 
inferior standard can only be followed by one result, and that a 
fatally disastrous one. 

Further, the advantage of seeing a Master (even a good writer) 
write a copy on the blackboard is almost purely chimerical, for 
unless the line is a small hand copy the chalk will not and does 
not make the strokes thin and thick to meet the exigencies of 
the writing, and the strokes have to be painted or thickened by re- 
peated applications of the crayon, which utterly destroys the analogy 
between the two acts. Then the teacher does not hold the chalk 
as the pupil holds the pen, nor does he write the Copy through 
in the same way that they are instructed to do. He is standing, 
they are sitting ; He writes or draws, erases, reproduces, repeats, 
repairs, thickens and revises the whole after being once traced, 
they are forbidden to do any of these things : where is the 
similarity or the help ? After the most elementary stages there 
exists no necessity whatever for this particular kind of Blackboard 
instruction It is not the setting of a Copy nor the seeing of a 
Copy written that is needed, but explanation and illustration of 
the Copy after it has been written. The Conclusion is irresistible 
looking at the question from every standpoint ; that the absence of 
a Perfect Model and the substitution of a .Hybrid having all 
possible degrees of disparity to an artistic and scientific original, 
must be fraught with consequences fatal to any satisfac-ory 
development of the science and art of handwriting. Contrast the 


projected state of things with that which obtains under the 
Headline Copy Book System, where the highest possible standard 
of engraved Models is aimed at by Publishers and Teachers alike, 
and where a praiseworthy rivalry is perpetually evolving new sets 
and series of fresh beauty or increased excellence, and there can 
be but one opinion on the question. Quench this spirit of emula- 
tion, withdraw from circulation every Headline Copy Book, throw 
Teachers and scholars alike on the resources of Individual vari- 
ation and Blackboard Standard, and the final decline of Penman- 
ship, all true Handwriting, will have been inaugurated. 

Irregular and Varying Models. Again it is not only that 
these proposed Blackboard Copies are imperfect and defective, 
they are also Irregular and Varying. The perpetual changes 
that must occur in the style of the models set on the Blackboard 
changes that in thousands of cases will not be yearly, or even 
monthly but weekly and almost daily are objectionable and most 
mischievous in their tendency. As an illustration let us glance at 
the career of a Public School pupil under the regime of Blank 
Copy Books, and in the hands of Blank Book advocates. The 
lad enters Standard One, where he is taught the principles of for- 
mation, and where his practical education consists in tracing or 
imitating copies written on the Blackboard by his teacher. Cer- 
tain elements of outline, slope, spacing and junction are learned, 
but the lad never sees a perfect model of writing through the 
whole year, and the models that he does see of necessity vary 
repeatedly ; sometimes carefully written, sometimes the contrary ; 
sometimes one size, frequently a different size ; occasionally one 
slope, generally some other slope ; possibly for accidents will 
happen in the best regulated institutions on rare occasions no 
copy at all and the class will be told to repeat the previous head- 
line, which they do, and to improve upon it which they as surely 
do not On entering Standard Two where the teacher affects a 
less sloping style of writing, the pupil is introduced into a new 
world a world of round steep characters which require fresh 
effort to appreciate and acquire ; and an entirely different posture 
of body and arm in its production. Surmounting the obstacles 


thus thrown in his path by the System under examination, Standard 
Three is entered where a continuous and very oblique style of 
writing obtains. The pupil commences de novo so to speak his 
instruction in Caligraphy, and by the end of the School-year has 
attained to considerable proficiency in his new mode only to find 
that when he reaches the Fourth Standard it is almost worse than 

Writing here assumes quite a novel character, a kind of com- 
posite or blend of several styles. The teacher has peculiar ideas 
as to junction, length of loops, construction shape &c., all of 
which the bewildered pupil is expected to rapidly absorb, assimi- 
late and practise. Finally in the stages of the 5th 6th and yth 
standards the hapless youth is treated to a series of contradictory 
lessons, and conflicting directions, unaccompanied all through by 
any perfect copies or examples which would serve as a standard 
for reference, or a model for imitation. During all these years 
the victim has never seen a specimen of perfect writing, and 
the models that he has seen have varied repeatedly, sometimes 
carefully written, sometimes otherwise ; different teachers, vary- 
ing and conflicting methods, diverse styles, unequal lengths of 
loops, contradictory principles of construction and junction ! 
the unhappy pupil is bewildered and overwhelmed in a sea of 
such inconsistencies, his writing is cramped and weak, and most 
probably ruined for all future time. Where, it may be asked, 
in the whole domain of Education is there another such Comedy 
of Errors as this of Blank Books, with their capricious and 
protean Blackboard models ? Good writing is impossible under 
such conditions. Irregular and varying models are an unmixed 
evil altogether inadmissible as a medium or agent for the teaching 
of writing. 

On the contrary with Headline Copy Books the pupil is sup- 
plied with a progressive course of carefully engraved headlines 
in a comprehensive series of Copy books, more than enough to 
carry him through his entire writing career. All the Copies are 
to one pattern ; one idea, one principle, one style permeating and 
governing the whole set. No variation or contradiction in size. 


construction slope or quality, but a system of Penmanship that at 
least is consistent with itself throughout. 

Thus the child leaving standard, class, or form one, finds 
nothing confusing in standard two, meets with everything agree- 
able and helpful in class three, and to the highest form or division 
in his school, is aided in his efforts to shine in caligraphy by a 
series of perfect and unvarying models, uniform in their excellence 
as they are scientific in their arrangement. 

Ungraded Models. It will occur to the thoughtful reader 
that Blackboard models will as a rule exhibit a sad lack in grada- 
tion. Who is to see that the copies prescribed to the several 
writing classes in our large Schools are properly graded, and 
adapted to the powers and ability of the writers. It may be safely 
presumed, that in an overwhelming proportion the copies will lie 
unsuitable from defective progressive arrangement, and the ad- 
vancement of the scholars will be retarded in a like ratio, as every 
teacher will recognise. All true gradation will of necessity be 
neglected, to the serious endamagement of the pupils, if that 
gradation be left to the hap-hazard writing of Teachers on the 

Again the grading of copies as to size text, round or small 
and the judicious blending of these sizes (a matter of no small 
importance) can receive but scant recognition under the Blank 
Book regulations. The rulings in the books, and the sizes on the 
Black board will seldom harmonize ; in short when it is remem- 
bered that size, character, words and sentences have all to be 
separately and independently graded in an appropriate and scien- 
tific order, it would be worse than foolish to suppose this could be 
achieved by indiscriminate and improvised copysetting on the 
Blackboard by teachers, who generally speaking, would not have 
devoted two minutes thought or preparation to their task. 
Efficient grading of writing models demands a concentration of 
attention, and an expenditure of time, that are simply beyond the 
resources of any teacher during the busy hours of a day's routine. 

Moreover, what can be done with personal or individual 
grading in Blank book Classes? It is an unheard-of phenomenon 


to have sixty or eighty pupils in a class all precisely at the same 
stage, all gifted with the same receptive capacity, the same 
mechanical skill, the same imitative ability. What can be done 
when there is only one Copy for the whole form ? Necessarily 
all must write it whether they are able or not. For some the 
Copy will be much too easy, for others about right, for the residue 
much too difficult. As a rule teachers insist upon the value of 
individual instruction ; here the principle is grossly violated, and 
hence the class becomes completely disorganised and the writing 
hour proves the most disagreeable and vexatious in the day. 
Such a grievance cannot exist where headline books are employed. 
Each pupil gets a book exactly suited to his own need, and when 
finished the next is equally adapted to his peculiar requirements, 
or, if dictated by expediency, the same book can be repeated. 
Ungraded models may fairly be considered as an insuperable 
obstacle to the reception of the Blank Book system, as propounded 
by its advocates. 

Temporary or Transient Models. In addition to the 
foregoing still another obstruction perplexes the enquirer, when the 
Temporary or Transient nature of Blackboard Models is con- 
sidered.* They are here one hour and gone the next, evanescent 
as a dream they are gone in the twinkling of an eye. They have 
no permanence ; consequently all opportunity of reference and 
comparison has vanished with them. 

Reasoning again by analogy, our maps, diagrams and illustra- 
tions preach to our children "All the year round," teaching, 
educating, and speaking their history every hour and every day 
to their juvenile beholders : they are not relegated to the shelves 
or oblivion of a locked -up store room, but they are on exhibition 
always and ever. 

Similarly ought the Headlines and Perfect Copies to be per- 
petually speaking from the pages of the books and from the walls 
of the schoolroom to the pupils : from the engraved copies in 
the former and from the enlarged Alphabet Diagrams on the latter. 

It is by the daily and oft repeated sight of these Headlines 
that children derive their only mental perception and conception 



of the true outlines and proportions of the letters they have to re- 
produce so frequently ; and thus their appreciation grows until an 
accurate knowledge is attained, that imparts cunning to the hand, 
that guides the fingers in their caligraphic evolutions, and dictates 
the grace and elegance that find expression in a style of hand- 
writing, that is as beautiful as it is legible. 

For other cogent reasons it is expedient that the copies or 
models should be permanent. It will be found that the members 
of a class write at different rates, and some will have finished the 
page (or the line) long before their fellows. 

Certainly the quick writers can proceed to a second copy, but 
this would create another evil very widely condemned but alas too 
often practised, viz., writing one and the same copy for too long a 
time. Then with large classes how impossible to efficiently correct 
each book in the one lesson. Consequently, the Master in making 
his rounds is unable to correct any back work even by comparison 
with his own imperfect Blackboard copy, thus his correction is 
robbed of half its value. 

But further these corrections even in the best conditions, are 
wonderfully depreciated by the consideration, that in all subsequent 
time they will be comparatively meaningless. 

A pupil looking over his book sees certain marks on various 
letters in the back pages. They are almost absolutely useless to 
him as he forgets the signification of the marks, and has no per- 
manent model to refresh his memory, or to give him the clue. 

A reply to this may be that the Master can re-write the Copy 
on the Blackboard. Precisely so. That is possible, but such an 
act requires time and labour, and multiplies details to an extent 
simply intolerable. One is inclined to predict that as the subject 
receives more careful attention, teachers will conclude, that the 
absence of permanent models constitutes an objection to the System 
of Blank Copy Books which is fatal to its success or survival. 

Amongst the minor objections to this scheme may be noticed 
the promiscuous character of the subject matter in Blackboard 
Copies. They change with every variation in the Teacher's mood ; 
trivial, insipid, dull, dry, appropriate or the reverse. This is not 


an inseparable or necessarily an inherent defect of the system, hut 
under the existing state of things we fear it is an inevitable one. 
For it is impossible to conceive that Head, Assistant, and Pupil 
Teachers shall be able to compile or write off hand series of 
Educative and Consecutive headlines. We would not unduly 
press this point of heterogeneous headlines, but no set of copy 
books in these days would secure any approval were this principle 
ignored, as must generally be the case with Blackboard Copies ; so 
that the importance and principle of such sequential and assorted 
headlines are satisfactorily established by universal consent and 

A second minor difficulty is the position of the Blackboard in 
relation to the several pupils in the class. It is a fact that in 
many schools the light is bad, and where it is good, myopia or 
shortsight, that obtains so generally amongst schoolchildren, will 
involve us in the same embarrassment. What shall be done with 
these shortsighted pupils that are always to be found in every 
standard of an elementary School ? They are at a grave dis- 
advantage unless special provision be made for them. 

Then if they are placed in the front desks, and the Blackboard 
is brought nearer in order to accommodate them, those in the 
wings will have imperfect and one-sided views of the Copy that 
will render it practically worthless. 

Short-sighted pupils render Blank Books with exclusive Black- 
board teaching very unsatisfactory if not prohibitory. 

A different class of objections to this Theory may now be 
examined, and in order to discuss them we will assume that the 
classes are always supplied with Perfect Models, Uniform Models, 
Graded Models, and Suitable Models, so arranged that every writer 
in the Class commands a perfect view of the same (all of which 
essentials as we have seen the System utterly fails to provide). 
However taking these points as settled it is asked, How will the 
change now proposed by these Blank- Book-Theorists affect our 
Teachers? For good or evil? We think the latter and for 
substantial reasons. On the ground first that it involves too 
great a loss of time, or it necessitates too great a sacrifice of time. 



The setting of appropriate and faultless copies on the Blackboard 
every day is an additional burden top hard to be borne. If such 
an infliction were imperative it would end in setting most hurried 
and inferior copies, and in frequent undesirable repetitions of the 
same copy, the writing thus degenerating to an alarming degree. 

Not only will it thus hamper our already restricted action and 
further weaken our already impaired teaching power, but its effect 
in large schools will be both unequal and oppressive, for usually 
there are some of the teachers who cannot write a copy sufficiently 
excellent to serve as a model, hence the strain upon the best 
writers will prove not only burdensome but conducive to no small 
amount of irritation, or at least to anything but good feeling and 
harmonious co-operation. On the other hand the pupils them- 
selves are seriously endamaged by this plan of Blank Book 
writing. Can juveniles imitate a copy on the Black Board at a 
distance of from twelve to thirty feet as readily, easily, and as 
perfectly, as they can a copy not three inches from their penpoint? 
No one will deny that it is very much easier to fac-simile a 
writing or drawing copy from the book, size for size, than to imitate 
by reducing the large sized copies on a blackboard at a consider- 
able distance from the pupil. Consequently the Minimum of Imi- 
tation is a feature peculiar to the Blank Book System and it is no 
answer to say that this Black Board work will help the pupil in Draw- 
ing. Writing is of too great importance to take the Subordinate- 
position of handmaid to Drawing. Quite the reverse. Drawing 
is admittedly the handmaid to writing and will take care of 

The difficulties thus thrown in the way of young beginners 
undoubtedly protract the final issue by retarding the pupils' 
progress. Possibly the opponents of Headline Copy Books have 
overlooked the great loss of time to the children that ensues from 
the adoption of Blank Books. With conscientious pupils this loss 
is serious indeed and with careless children the loss, though in a 
different way, is greater still. An honest child will repeatedly and 
continually stop to look at his Blackboard Copy, his rate of pro- 
gress is therefore relatively abnormally slow. A heedless child by 


contrast will hardly ever look at the Copy at all, and its progress 
will necessarily be a minimum. 

A very irritating accompaniment to the scheme is the per- 
petual movement of the heads (too often of the bodies also) of 
the writers as they look up at their distant copy. The temptation 
to look at one another is alas often too strong to be always 
successfully resisted, and instead of a quiet and uniform attention 
to their Copy Books, as is the case with engraved Headlines, there 
is a continual motion of heads going on all over the Class causing 
shakings of the desk and grumblings from the writers, who are 
disturbed thereby. Disorder is both produced and encouraged 
by the practice of Blank Book writing. 

Lastly the influence of blank Copy Books upon a chss is very 
disheartening. Nothing to relieve the monotony of the outlook, 
or inlook either for that matter. No fresh or higher number of 
Headline Copy Book to anticipate, with its interesting collection 
of instructive sentences, its elegant capitals, and its modified 
style to stimulate the pupils ! What a valuable element of emu- 
lative Education is thus lost entirely. 

Summarising these defects of the Blank Book System we 
observe that 

1. It presents Imperfect Models for imitation. 

2. It possesses nothing but Irregular and Varying Models 
which preclude any consistent system of Penmanship. 

3. It can only produce Ungraded Models so that the 
essential element of General Gradation is both ignored and 
neglected. ' 

4. It also offers Transient Models, thus rendering all true 
Correction uncertain or impossible often the latter. 

5. It can only give Promiscuous Models which in the 
majority of instances are both inappropriate and non-educative. 

6. It entirely lacks all Individual Grading so essential to 
real and rapid progress. 

7. It fails to provide for short-sighted pupils. 

8. It involves much loss of time to and imposes much 
unnecessary work upon the Teacher. 


9. It causes irreparable loss of time to the pupils. 

10. It possesses the ' Minimum of Imitation." 

IT. It yields the minimum of Interest, Attraction, or Stimula- 
tive power to the pupils. 

Surveying this formidable array of faults and defects if must 
be granted that Blank Books can boast of little that is good, and 
of nothing at all that can by any stretch of the imagination be 
considered superior to Headline Copy Books, more particularly 
when it is found impossible to flank it with any similar list of 
compensating advantages. 

Since writing this chapter a somewhat profuse correspondence 
with the advocates of Blank books has eliminated all that can be 
said in favour of the system. Most of the arguments have already 
been fully met and confuted in the preceding pages, but the 
following four points seem to call for special remark. 

1. " All the children are at the same copy at the same time." 

2. " No blank leaves to fill from absence." 

3. "Absentees do not fall out of the running and thus have 
"not to work at different copies, scattering energy of the teacher 
"who is compelled to resort to individual correction." 

4. u Blank books allow of Class teaching from Blackboard." 
Of these points No. i has already been discussed and shown 

to be undesirable and (detrimental to true progress. Number 2 is 
beautifully simple and innocent, indeed mysteriously so. The 
writer of such a statement must see that the argument is more, 
much more, favourable to Headline than to Blank Copy Books. 
One illustration will suffice for points 2 and 3. Two children are 
absent from School say for a month, and return to their respective 
writing classes, one of which is taught on the Blank System the 
other on the Headline System. A, enters the first to find that his 
schoolfellows have written from eight to a dozen copies in his 
absence, that they have received 8 to 12 lessons in the same period, 
an 1 that therefore both in theory and practice they are far ahead 
of him. He is left hopelessly in the rear, despairingly in the 
lurch. We are told he has no blank pages to fill up aside we 
in ^ht suggest he never has anything else to do but it must be 


asked what about the pages and lessons he has missed ? Is it 
not obvious that this Blank Book victim is quite out of the 
running, that he will perforce have to work at the same copy as 
the rest of the class when he is admittedly unfit for and unable to 
do it? What about the individual attention rendered necessary 
if this returned absentee is to get any justice at all in his writing 
class ? 

His schoolfellow B, on the other hand enters the " Headline " 
class at the same time and under the same conditions. But what 
a contrast ! Here also the pupils have written the same number of 
copies and received the same number of lessons, but that does not 
affect our friend. His book is opened and he commences just 
where he left off. Every individual member of his class is an 
independent member, each pupil working at that exact stage most 
and best adapted to his personal ability, and therefore he resumes 
his labours under the very minimum of disadvantage, conscious 
that he can proceed with his copy as satisfactorily as before his 
absence, and with no despondent reference to his class-mates. He 
feels he is not out of the running, and the teacher knows it, for 
there are no lapsed copies and lessons which he can never overtake. 

Blank books are certainly inferior to Headline Copy Books in 
this comparison. 

Lastly as to No. 4 it is somewhat difficult to understand its 
drift. "Blank Bcoks allow of class teaching"! Of 
course they' do, but are we to understand by implication that 
Headline Books do not allow of Class Teaching ? It has been 
shown that they not only permit, but that they require and demand 
it equally with Blank or any other kind of Writing Copy Books. 
If the objector does not see "how the Black Board can be used" 
with advantage to illustrate ard demonstrate principles to writers 
in Headline Copy Books just as well as to writers in Blank Books 
or for the matter of that to writers on slates also anything that 
has been said or could be said in that direction would be powerless 
to convince him. 

It is a palpable delusion to imagine that Black Board demon- 
stration is only useful when every member of the class is engaged 


in writing exactly the same copy, word, or letter. One may take 
twenty different headlines, say of small hand, and there will hardly 
be a single copy amongst them that is not composed of elements 
common to all. 

Finally the practical use to be made of the Black Board as a 
medium for instruction in writing when Headline Books are used, 
is identically and precisely the same that a Blank Book advocate 
Vvould make of it AFTER he had written the copy, viz. to illustrate 
or explain any point of difficulty principle or mistake, that might 
arise in the day's teaching. 

Indeed such is the preponderating weight of evidence in sup- 
port of Headline Copy Books, and so slender flimsy and untenable 
all the arguments for Blank Copy Books, as to render the use of 
the latter a matter of personal pressure, accidental impulse, 
inclination to novelty, or of vested interests. 

Isolated cases may occur and particular individuals may 
possibly secure good Blank Book results by means of that devotion 
and abnormal expenditure of labour and zeal which hobby- ride r s 
so generously and so generally indulge in, but it is vain to expect 
that the tens of thousands of our teachers will accept a system 
which literally bristles with anomalies, difficulties and defects. 

It may be that, in the words of a zealous defender of Blank 
Books, " The day of Headline Books is past" ! " Headline Copy 
"Books are obsolete " !! " Headline Copy Books are virtually a 
"thing of the Past"!!! It may be so, but appearances are 
against it, facts disprove it, and logic derides it, and it must be 
asserted with the calmest deliberation that on all counts, in all 
aspects and respects the verdict is unanimously and unreservedly 
against and opposed to the introduction of any System of Blank 
Copy Books for the teaching of writing in our Elementary and 
Secondary Schools. 

NOTE : Lest the assertion on page 60 reflecting on the 
quality of the writing of our teachers be considered exagger- 
ated or unfounded I here reproduce some extracts just taken 
from the Blue Books of current and recent years, in refer- 
ence to handwriting in England. 


"The writing of the pupil teachers is generally poor" (Her 
Majesty's Inspector). " This latter remark I would specially 
emphasize in the case of my own disifict, to which I attribute a 
good deal of the poor handwriting that exists in its schools" 
(Chief Inspector, p. 308). 

"The assistants are too frequently unable to set a proper 
copy on the blackboard " (p. 16). 

" Teachers cannot always write well themselves" (p. 18), 
and as to the caligraphy of our Students in Training for teachers 
we read : 

"Handwriting is becoming worse every year" (Report on 
Training Colleges, p. 450). 

These statements surely justify every word in the paragraph 
referred to, coming as they do from those who are best able to 
form a judgment on the question. 




WHAT Desk do you use ? How does it answer? Is it adjustable, 
rigid, durable, reliable, convenient and efficient? Again and 
again are the changes rung on these questions yet how seldom 
are the answers satisfactory. The desk is the most essential, 
expensive and important article of furniture connected with the 
art of writing. Upon the correct and hygienic construction of the 
desk depend almost vital issues, not solely with regard to the 
caligraphy, but more specifically to the health and well-being of 
the writers. Human skill and ingenuity have been lavished upon 
these articles to render them as perfect as the most stringent 
demands could require. On the continent, where the interest 
excited has been of the deepest character, Doctors of Philosophy 
and of Medicine have vied with each other in efforts to evolve 
the most perfect and effective desk possible for school use. The 
almost unanimous verdict is in favour of a low desk that shall 
permit the arms of the writer to rest naturally thereon, when he is 
sitting erect, without either raising or depressing the shoulders, 
and although this end is seldom actually and individually 
attained in large schools it can be approximated to very nearly. 
These low desks about which there has been, and still continues, 
such a fever of excitement have not had a sufficiently long test to 
prove them to be altogether advantageous and superior to those 
that are higher. It is still a moot question whether the support 
which the writer receives from the back rest is superior to the rest 
afforded by the arms when they are placed upon the desk to 
counterbalance the weight of the body as it is inclined forward in 
the act of writing. The great weight of evidence nevertheless is in 


favour of the Back rest and it is more than probable that tests and 
time will confirm the judgment, and that the low desks will entirely 
supersede those at present in use. 

When we come to speak of the slope of the desk fewer 
difficulties meet us, and the case is capable of very easy settle- 
ment, although the best precise angle has not been definitely 

Two or three degrees in either direction can hardly make 
much difference and as writers on the subject vary between 10 
and 15 of slope, teachers cannot go far wrong within these 

If the erect posture of the writer is to be maintained 12 or 13 
degrees would seem to be the Hygienically superior slope to 

The 3 or 4 inches of flat surface beyond the slanting portion 
should be provided with a pen groove, and with holes at convenient 
distances for the inkwells, which should be protected from dust by 
sliding metal covers sunk flush with the desk. For junior pupils 
the desks should not be more than ten inches broad, for seniors 
they may be eleven or twelve independent of the flat ridge. 

A narrow seat is an instrument of torture and should not be 
permitted, some we have seen being not more than six inches 
broad. The width should not be less than ten inches and may be 
increased to twelve with advantage and benefit. If the form be 
hollowed out along somewhat near the back it will tend to prevent 
slipping, and will yield a more comfortable seat. Care must be 
taken that the hollowing out is not made too deep, or the writer 
will be thrown backwards too far off the perpendicular. Of course 
the introduction of the low desks will render lockers and partitions 
for books running underneath a matter of impossibility. A ledge 
should therefore run under the seat, which, whilst not nearly so 
convenient, will still provide some accommodation for the pupils' 

Whether single, dual or longer desks are employed is matter 
for individual preference or financial consideration, but all desks 
should possess the following essential features: a smooth and 


sufficiently broad writing surface, adjustable action (both simple 
safe and strong), a workable angle of slope, rigidity, foot rails, 
good broad seats hollowed out and furnished with back rests, an 
ample supply of inkwells covered when not in use and shelves 
for books. 

With a desk and seat fulfilling all these requirements the 
writing of the children might reasonably be expected to answer 
and respond to the most rigid demands of the severest criticism 
or Inspectorial examination. 

Slates ! Shall slates be used at all in our Schools ? Are they 
desirable aids to Education, are they helps, material helps in the 
formation of a good handwriting ? Hygiene and Optics reply to 
the first query and say " Certainly not " ! Slates are dirty and dan- 
gerous as well as injurious. Discipline chimes in and denounces 
them as noisy and troublesome. But, paper is expensive ! 
Granted, it will cost a little more money than our old friends the 
slates : the gain however in Discipline or order Cleanliness, Health, 
Neatness, and Improvement in writing will prove to be more than 
a compensating benefit and blessing. The exclusive use of paper 
is strongly recommended, as being not only highly superior from 
an Educational Standpoint, but all things considered ultimately 
more economical. Where slates are used they should be of a good 
size, framed, strengthened at the corners, and ruled on one side. 
They must never be allowed to get dirty and greasy as the writing 
on them is then not only difficult but almost illegible, by reason 
of its faintness, and it may be predicated that much of the injury 
to sight is caused or intensified by slate writing. 

Indeed with the best of slates the ratio of visibility as com- 
pared with ink writing or pencil writing on paper is as 3 to 4. 
How much tess this will be with dirty and greasy slates can easily 
be imagined. White slates are much to be preferred to black 
ones. It is simply cruelty to insist upon children writing on these 
black and greasy slates in a room imperfectly lighted and (as in 
numerous instances) with the light at their backs. Then in how 
many cases are the pencils simply stumpy ends, hardly long enough 
to be held in the tiny fingers. This evil must be remedied and 


holders provided or new pencils supplied. Lastly, soft slate pencils 
are the best, if hard and gritty they scratch and destroy the 
surface of the slate, thus making an inherently bad article still 

When our Educational Authorities wake up to a sense of their 
responsibilities, all such important details of School Life and 
Experience, as these now under discussion, will be thoroughly 
investigated decided upon and Reformed.* 

Of course the objections to slates have not all been mentioned. 
The mode, the general if not virtually the universal mode of 
cleaning ! the slates constitutes in our opinion a valid reason 
for their abandonment. Who that has witnessed the proceedings 
in an arithmetic class where slates are being used can entertain 
any doubts on the question ? Get rid of slates and you get rid of 
the dirtiest and most demoralizing habits that are born and bred 
in the Schoolroom. It is not decent to retain them, it is not safe, 
it is not wise. 

Let them go, few will be found to mourn their loss. 

Books. In the matter of Books their character as to Head- 
lines has already been examined. There are other considerations 
to which attention may be directed. And first as to paper. It is 
a false economy to have inferior paper. Such a thing as Educat- 
ing Downwards does unhappily exist and to true teachers this is a 
calamity, a deplorable calamity, ever to be shunned. 

Competition fortunately cuts out from the market defective 
paper, and it is cause for congratulation that the School Boards 
generally set such a worthy example in the question by insist- 
ing on a certain (and certainly good) quality of paper in all 
contracts for Writing Copy Books. Poor thin paper is no longer 
a recognised entity, and as a rule Copy Books are now unex- 
ceptionable in this respect, those that are not will soon possess 
only a past history. 

The Shape of the Copy Book is an interesting topic to 
examine. Shapes vary (Fig. 24), and so do sizes very considerably. 
The Sizes of Books differ so very much that we give the extreme 
dimensions between which there is every possible variety. One 

* Jolly's " Education in its Physical Relations" gives very clear and sensible direc- 
tions on these points. 


of the largest will measure TO inches by 8 whilst the smallest is 7 
by 4, or 80 square inches and 28 sq. in. Some are Square as 
No. i, and some oblong, the latter having two kinds, those which 
are longer horizontally (as No 2), and those which are longer 
in the Vertical direction as No. 3. 

No. i 


FIG. 24. 

No. 3 

In Germany and Austria, where these and similar points are 
professionally and exhaustively discussed, a very strong movement 
has set in opposing shapes Nos. i and 2 and approving of style 3. 
Many critical and clever essays have been written on the question 
and after careful study of the arguments it is almost impossible to 
resist the conclusion that the advocates of short lines or narrow 
Copy Books have the best of it. Correspondence forms one of 
the most common and largest classes of penmanship (Commercial 
and Professional). It is found that small, medium and larg^ 
si/ed note papers are the most convenient and practically useful 
sixes and shapes for letter writing. On this ground it is surely 
expedient to assimilate as far as possible to common usage in our 
School practice. Indeed most office books such as Day Books, 
Journals, Ledgers, Cash Books, &c. take the same form and arc 
narrow from left to right, and long from base to top. It is evident 
therefore that by using Copy Books of an entirely different shape 
with juveniles an unfair strain is put upon the pupils at a time 
when they are least able to bear it, and that we are exacting from 
them a task which is both unnecessary and inexpedient. But 
again, it is found by medical men, Oculists, that as the writing 
recedes to the right it becomes injurious to the eyes, and that the 
only remedy for this danger is to use narrow books, and preserve 
what will subsequently be described as the middle straight 

It has been advanced as an argument for the Long-line Copy 
Books, that there is a not inconsiderable advantage in the 


superiority of the Headlines : greater facility being afforded for 
Educative copies than is possible with narrow books. But in 
reply can we not make the short copies quite as suggestive as the 
longer ones are explicit, so as to reduce the difference to an 
insignificant compass ; and secondly, does not the disadvantage 
peculiar to the long copies of being detrimental to eyesight more 
than counterbalance any slight benefit such as the one just 

It is strongly recommended that no Copy Book Headline 
exceed seven and a half inches in length, and that this size be 
used alternately with another, of say five or five and a half inches. 
Such a width would bring the work of the pupil well within the 
circle of vision that oculists inform us is a healthy limit, their 
decision of cour>e, on matters pertaining purely to eyesight, being 
of the utmost value and authority.- The narrow books (or short 
line books) are being rapidly adopted on the Continent, and it 
may be surmised that it is only a quesiicn of time and that not 
far distant when the very large books will have entirely disappeared. 
Whether our English Teachers will easily become converts to the 
New Shape remains to be seen. It is to be hoped that any real 
advance, however small it may be, will immediately be appropriated 
by the English profession, although we are proverbially slow to 
appreciate and still slower to adopt substantial reforms in whatever 
direction they may be made. 

Ink. Although usually regarded as a minor point of little or 
no importance the kind of ink that is used in School writing will 
be found to materially affect the welfare of the classes. Even when 
good desks and seats, good light, paper, and pens are all given 
to write with, a thin pale ink proves very distressing especially 
with young people. What it must be, how much more aggrava- 
ting, where the desks are not commodious, the light is inferior, 
the paper thin and the pens bad we cannot say and would 
rather not imagine. The consequences under such conditions 
must be serious. Who does not recall with feelings akin to 
disgust his futile struggles to produce decent specimens of rali- 
graphy at school when using ink that was best described as sooty 


and greasy water ? The ink used in schools should not be 
chemical, i.e. writing faint and turning dark afterwards, but it 
should be of an intense blackness, so that the writing is plainly 
visible, as it is being traced on the paper, without straining the 
sight. Excellent school inks at very moderate cost and to which 
no exception can be taken are now manufactured by many makers 
in all parts of the world. 

Pens. Only a word is necessary with reference to pens and 
penholders. The market is glutted with an abundance of nibs 
many of them utterly unfit for use, being made of poor metal and 
furthermore badly finished. Good durable pens will always prove 
the cheapest and best ; so-called cheap pens are invariably the 
dearest and most unsatisfactory, as the constant changing of nibs 
that is required creates much disorder and loses much valuable 
time. Nothing disheartens a <:hiid more than to write with a 
"scratchy" or " Bad Pen." Lei teachers see to it that no scholar 
has such an excuse for the " Bad Writing" that always follows in 
its train. Fancy and fanciful penholders are undesirable and use- 
less. The plainer and simpler the holder is the better. We 
have yet to see steel-tipped holders, a contrivance which by pre- 
venting nibbling and gnawing of the tops so widely practised in 
our schools would be as beneficial to the pupils as economical for 
the management. As to length the penholders should not exceed 
six inches nor fall below five and a half and they should not be 
thinner than an ordinary lead pencil, the thickness varying with 
the size of the hand 01 writer. To employ a thin holder is con- 
sidered a dangerous practice, as much writing therewith will induce 
spasmodic tightening of the grasp and thus favour the habitual 
contraction of the muscles which causes writer's cramp. 

Blotting Paper. Blotting paper is essential to and a de- 
sideratum in every writing class It is difficult to understand why 
many teachers forbid its use and discountenance its very presence. 
For cleanliness utility and saving of time blotting paper is invalu- 
able. When a page is finished much time will perforce be wasted 
if blotting paper is not forthcoming, and during the waiting (or 
wasting) time thus entailed temptation tc talking and disorder is 


terribly strong. It is also equally imperative that the copy books 
be kept as clean as possible. How is this to be done if there is 
no blotting paper on the page for the hand to rest upon ? Chil- 
dren do not enter their classes with clean hands as a rule (unfortu- 
nately the reverse is generally the case) and the unavoidable 
consequence is that the copy books bear very objectionable 
evidence of these dirty fingers from the first page to the very last. 
Besides this the surface of the paper is almost destroyed for 
writing purposes by the grease and heat from the hand if no 
blotting paper is allowed. Lastly on this point, in all good offices 
the usage is to have blotting paper undr the hand (and at 
hand) in every kind of writing, and if it is thus found to be 
requisite for adults how much more necessary is it with juveniles. 

A word as to the mode or modes generally adopted for clean- 
ing the pens. In numerous schools the pens are never cleaned 
at all, in others they are cleaned by processed as manifold as they 
are objectionable, and in some few establishments penwipers are 
used and the pens are cleaned as they ought to be, daily and 

Of course teachers should aim at inculcating habits of neatness 
and cleanliness, and in the Writing Class these habits may receive 
material strengthening and stimulating by the mode of pen-clean- 
ing that shall prevail. It will not always be possible in elementary 
schools, but if penwipers could be introduced generally, much 
that is slovenly and dirty would disappear from our classes 




THE Hygienic demands upon the teacher with respect to the 
teaching of Handwriting have already been fully established. The 
obligation cannot be evaded, for as we have seen in Chapter II. the 
posture in writing is a matter of the highest importance, and we 
must add of vital consequence. Moreover it must be understood 
here at the very outset that we tolerate no compromise with half 
measures or superficial treatment. The question is too grave to 
be tampered with, and no honest mind after reading the reports 
of medical men, who have given this special subject their most 
earnest attention, can remain indifferent to its claims. 

Ever since the incursion of Slope have its followers been 
trying but in vain to find and fix the best posture of the body 
in the act of writing. Every conceivable attitude, from the 
extreme right side to an equally extreme left side position, has 
been in turn tried, advised, and ultimately abandoned, the be- 
wildered experimentalists in despair giving it up and crying out 
with a last gasp "Sit as you like, everybody to his own fancy. It 
" doesn't matter how you sit.' ; Teachers have indeed been heard to 
say, (did I say teachers ? I will add eminent Educationists have 
declared, even in print) that " rules for posture in writing are absurd. 
" Every writer should find his own easiest position, hold the pen as 
" he feels best he can, and move or tilt his book to suit his own 
" convenience." This is after all not a bit surprising, for there are 
no lengths to which " Slopers " will not go to justify the obliquity 
of their penmanship : and so when " Sit up straight to the right," 
"Sit up straight to the left," and all the intermediate degrees of 
twist and erectness have been exhausted to no avail the only 


safety is in pooh-poohing the necessity of any rule at all. Hence 
we have had the convenient "carte blanche" system insisted 
upon for years by numerous exponents of the cahgraphic art, 
scattering dismay through the ranks of all law-abiding teachers, 
and destruction through the masses of victimised pupils, whose 
misfortune it has been to come under their jurisdiction. This 
trilling with serious matters is not to be tolerated, it is unique in 
the whole range of Instruction and Education. In no other 
domain of Literature Science or Art is such a state of things 
permitted or even mooted. 

Robust bodies and reckless minds may ignore and even deny 
the evil effects of bad postures, but in these days it can only be 
at the sacrifice of either veracity or prestige. 

The straight upright position of the body then must be insisted 
upon, the arms of the writer being freely and equally placed on 
the desk at what distance from the sides the elbows are to be, 
will be regulated by the relative heights of the desk and seat the 
left hand steadying the book or paper in use. Every advantage 
must be taken of the back-rest (where it exists) as it is calculated 
not only to yield support and diminish or prevent weariness, but 
also to impart confidence to the writer and strength to the writing. 
Make the posture as natural and easy as possible, and the healthier 
it is, the better for both writer and writing. The head should not 
remain stiffly erect in a constrained manner, but should incline 
forward sufficiently to command" the most perfect view of the 
writing, the feet being supported on a footrail or drawn up some- 
what under the body. 

Crossing the legs or sprawling them about is both undesirable, 
and injurious to the cause of good writing. 

In the act of writing the body should be well braced up and 
held together ; la/iness and looseness of posture beget looseness 
and slovenliness in the caligraphy. A distance of from twelve to 
twenty inches or even more will thus be maintained between the 
eyes and the book, varying of course in accordance with the 
heights of the writer and of the desk. 

If the opinions concerning bodily posture in writing have been 

O 2 


countless and conflicting, equally so do we find them in the matter 
of position of the Copy Book. Nothing definite or determined 
has been arrived at amongst the advocates of Sloping Writing, but 
in striking contrast to all this uncertainty we have with Vertical or 
Hygienic writing but one possible position, and that is the straight 
middle position. 

To Dr. Paul Schubert, the eminent oculist of Niirnberg, 
belongs the honour of triumphantly demonstrating by numerous 
measurements and observations the only practicable and truly 
Hygienic position of the Copy book. The results of his able and 
exhaustive experiments are given in the Journal of School Hygiene 
1889, from which we quote largely in the following arguments. 

The question as to what position of the Copy Book is hygieni 
cally the best and least dangerous to the spinal column and eye 
of the writing child has for many years been occupying the minds 
of teachers. 

We have at the outset to distinguish between a middle posi- 
tion and a right position of the Copy Book according as the 
latter, in the writing, lies exactly in front of the middle of the 
body, or to the right of it. 

Left positions do not concern us in right-handed penmanship. 

Further we must make a distinction between straight and 
slanting positions of the Copy Book, according as its edges have 
or have not the same direction as the edge of the desk. 

In our right-sloping caligraphy oblique position consists 
exclusively in making the upper edge of the Copy Book revolve 
towards the left. 

There are accordingly four positions to be considered Straight 
and Oblique Middle positions, and Straight and Oblique Right 
positions. Each of these stands in closest relation to direction of 

In the Straight Middle Position only Vertical Writing can 
be produced, in the other three positions only the ordinary 
Sloping Writing. 

If from the point of the writing pen a line is drawn towards 
the middle of the breast and termed the line of direction of 


the last written downstroke, then for all four positions of the 
Copy Book the proposition holds good that downstroke and 
line of direction approximately coincide. This relation can be 
confirmed by measurement in every School, where the children 
write without being subject to influence or constraint. Ex- 
periments made by Dr. Schubert with 316 Scholars embracing 
some 1586 measurements fully supported this hypothesis. It 
would lead too far to pursue in detail the process of movement in 
writing, in order to explain the agreement of the downstrokes with 
their lines of direction in every position of the Copy Book. 
Suffice it to say that the relation put forward is abundantly 
approved. Since therefore in Middle position the downstrokes 
stand perpendicular to the edge of the desk, they will stand 
perpendicular also to the edge of the Copy Book and to the 
writing line if the Copy Book is placed straight. 

If however the latter be turned with its upper edge towards 
the left, the writing lines rise from left (below) to right (above) but 
the downstrokes remain as before perpendicular to the edge of 
the desk, hence they come to stand in a right oblique position as 
regards the writing line, and their obliquity depends on the degree 
of the turning of the Copy: we repeat consequently that Vertical 
Writing only can be writtQp in Straight Middle Position, and 
Sloping Writing only in the oblique. In all right positions the 
downstrokes like their lines of direction stand right oblique to the 
edge of the desk. If now the edge of the Copy Book is parallel 
to the latter the letters stand just as oblique to the writing line 
also. Should the Copy Book be turned towards the left the incli- 
nation of the down strokes towards the writing line increases. But 
never in right position can vertical writing be produced ; for to 
attain this object, the Copy Book would have to be turned in the 
direction in which the hands of a watch move, so that the lines 
would run from left above to right below. To write in this way is 

Consequently in straight and oblique right positions, only 
sloping writing can be produced. 

From this standpoint we then advance to the principal ques- 


tion viz. in which position of the Copy Book does the child adopt 
the best bodily posture, endangering or unduly burdening no 
organ? The most gratifying unanimity prevails with the whole 
body of investigators on the fact, that all right positions of the 
Copy Book are thoroughly injurious and utterly to be rejected. 

For : They compel the head to turn to the right, the 
shoulders follow more or less, the right arm slips on the desk to the 
right and to a certain degree downwards, the left arm is pushed 
up causing the shoulder to rise, the right sinks, the spinal column 
loses its upright posture and assumes a bending towards the left, 
the body to which this wearisome distortion becomes in the long 
run uncomfortable collapses more and more, the lateral bending 
is accompanied by a similar one forward, and the head, approaching 
the writing in a way extremely threatening for the eye, even sinks 
down upon the left arm which is pushed before the middle of the 

Beginnings of this bodily distortion are found in every child 
who adopts the right position of Copy Book, and in the majority 
of cases the result is really wonderfully Cramped postures, on which 
the stamp of danger to health is unmistakeably imprinted. 

There are two organs in particular which are distressed by this, 
the Spinal Column and the eye, as we have seen in a previous 
chapter, for according to Dr. A. Baginsky amongst 1000 cases of 
crooked growth 887 or 887 per cent, took their rise between the 
ages of six and fourteen. Dr. Mayer found that the faulty posture of 
body, most frequently observed in the case of children writing with 
right position of Copy Book, exactly corresponded to the permanent 
distortions which were most common in those very school classes, 
viz. the C-shaped bend of the whole spinal column towards the 

Dr. Schenk (" The Aetiology of Scoliose " Berlin 1885), with 
instruments of very exact action examined and measured 200 chil- 
dren, with the result that 160 were found to sit at the writing so that 
they displaced the upper body opposite the pelvis towards the left, 
manifestly in order to convert, for the sake of easier production of 
sloping writing, the original middle position of the Copy Book into 


a right position. All these 160 were found to be more or less 
affected with pronounced curvature of the spine. 1 

As to the position of the head, a bending forward is common 
and more or less necessary in all positions of the Copy Book, but 
the right position of the Copy Book requires two other movements, 
a turning of the head towards the right, and a moving forwards 
of the left eye which causes it to stand deeper or lower down 
than the right, thus constituting the first step in the deterioration of 
the whole bodily posture. 

FIG. 25. 

The eye is endangered by the right position because every 
deviation from an erect posture of body, every twisting of the 
trunk, and every cramping contraction of whatever kind bring the 
eyes nearer the writing and force them to stronger convergence of 
the lines of vision and to greater exertion of their power of accom- 
modation by which the genesis of Shortsight is encouraged. (See 
Fig. 25.) These observations are the outcome of investigations 
by different authors such as Schmcller, Hahnel, Berlin, Florschiitz, 
Remboldt, Schmidt- Rimpler, Seggel, Emmet, &c., which involved 
the examination of no less than 21,949 cases. 

1 See Appendix III. for further details 


There is accordingly a sufficiency of reasons for prohibiting the 
right position of the Copy Book, and there appears to exist 
entire unanimity on this point amongst medical experts. 

It remains only to determine whether the Straight Middle 
position with Vertical Writing, or the Oblique Middle position 
with Oblique Writing is the better. Here also observation and 
measurement are the decisive agents employed, which show that 
in oblique middle position the head is inclined considerably more 
than in straight middle position. 

In 400 experiments in writing with straight middle position, 
the inclination amounted to 2'8, but in 543 experiments with the 
Oblique middle position to 7 '9. In 258 positions of the copy 
where no directions were given but where the right position pre- 
dominated, to 9 and in many extreme cases to 16. 

These results are borne out by general practice, and it is 
conclusively proved that the oblique middle position of the Copy 
Book not only induces the inclination of the head, but draws the 
body after it, bending and twisting the spinal column, thus pro- 
ducing according to Dr. Schenk that form of spinal curvature which 
we find described as the most frequent and characteristic school 
Scoliosis. ^ 

It is moreover an error to suppose that everything has been 
done, if the child is protected hygienically in the School building 
itself. The influence of the teacher is often limited to School 
hours, but in the question of caligraphy an excellent opportunity 
offers itself for demanding and exerting such influence in the pre- 
paration of home lessons, when the supervision of a teacher no 
longer exists. For if Vertical Writing be introduced into the 
School we may be sure that what is done at home is also, without 
any supervision whatever written in the Straight Middle position, 
as Vertical Writing can be produced in that position of the Copy 
Book only, and therefore there is no lateral Curvature of the 

Unless however the Straight Middle Position with its insepa- 
rable accompaniment Vertical Writing be insisted upon, there can 
and will be no security against the continuance of the prevailing 


evils, since Oblique Writing can be produced just as easily (if not 
indeed more easily) in the obnoxious and injurious Right positions 
of the co[-y book as in the Middle. 

The final conclusion is then, that the Copy Book should lie 
before the writer, not outside to the right of him. Nevertheless 
we are not inclined to go quite so far as our German critics, who 
say that the middle line of the paper should if produced be 
coincident with the line down the middle of the chest or sternum 
as this position would necessitate the right hand stretching over, 
across and beyond the medial line. Such a requirement would 
inevitably bring with it a tilting or bending over of the entire 
upper trunk, which would cause a most painful twist of the spinal 

The diagram (Fig. 26) will illustrate all the positions hitherto 

When in the middle straight position the book must be so 

m>^ \ 

n i o 



\ i 


rt~i MI M~r 


No. i. 

No. 2. No. 3. No. 4. 
FIG. 26. 

No. 5. 

adjusted, laterally, that at no time is the writing carried to the left 
over the medial line of direction. 

Any one can satisfy himself of the essential character of this 
restricting clause by testing in actual writing the postures as 

Writing is easiest all round when the writing surface lies well 
before the writer in the straight position and covering the space 
bounded by the medial line on the one side and (shall we call it) 
tlv right shoulder line on the other, as indicated in No. 5 of the 
diagram above. 



The pen should be held firmly but not tightly between the 
thumb and two fore-fingers. One writer informs us that the pen 
should be grasped only by the thumb and fore-finger but the ex 
periment has only to be tried to entail a speedy abandonment. If 
the pen be properly held the first finger can at any time be lifted 
without danger of the pen falling from the hand. Whilst the 
thumb is bent up away from the ends of the fingers the latter are 
to be kept easily straight, perhaps slightly but only slightly bent 
and not approaching too near the point of the nil), or soiled and 
inky fingers will be the result. The end of the second finger may 
rest on the side of the penholder or may fall somewhat below it at 
the discretion of the teacher or writer. The penholder furthermore 
should ever rema.n on or above the piincipal knuckle of the fore- 
finger never being allowed to sink into the hollow near the second 
joint of the thumb. As to direction let the pen follow the hand 
and arm which are in one and the same straight line. 

A common and not less pernicious habit is to allow the pen to 
take an outward direction to the right, when as an inevitable con- 
sequence the writing takes a backward slope and all the curves 
and lateral lines become thickened at the expense of the down- 
strokes, which attenuate off into hairlines imparting to the writing 
an appearance as peculiar as it is illegible. Broad nibs (as the J) 
conduce greatly to this abuse which appears to be prevalent 
amongst female writers. 

Another danger is in holding the pen in a nearly upright posi- 
tion. This mistake often happens. People think vertical 
writing calls for a vertically held pen which latter brings in its 
train spluttering blots and not good temper. Let the pen slope 
at an angle of 40 or 45 to the paper, when it will be found to 
write with a maximum of ease and safety. Do not turn the pen 
on one side, but use, and press on, both points of the nib equally. 
Juveniles are particularly prone to write on the side of their pens, 
it being universal experience that the worst penmen hold their 
pens in the worst fashion. Instructors of youth in Elementary 


departments where pens are first used in the Writing Class 
should see to it that they are held in the correct way. A little 
labour bestowed on this point at the beginning of a child's 
writing will save a ton of trouble in after years. 

Eccentricities in the modes of holding the pen must not be 
entertained or encouraged for a moment, such as placing the pen 
between the first two fingers or between the 2nd and 3rd. These 
and similar vagaries are as absurd as they are clumsy and un- 
scientific, and remind one of the directions given in a manual 
treating (in part) of writing and how it should be taught. Said 
this author "let your scholars hold their pens as they like ; it is 
"quite immaterial how they hold the pen SO long as they 
" learn to write well ! " 

Briefly then we may consider the positions to be as follow, 

1. The Writer ; square, erect, easy, natural. 

2. The Book ; the Straight Middle Position. 

3. The Pen ; obliquely between thumb and two forefingers, in 
a line with arm. 

By a consistent observance of these rules much will be done 
towards a great and marked improvement in the writing of our 

At this point it will be appropriate to speak about the direction 
of the light under which children should write. Obviously pupils 
should not sit with their backs to the light, neither should a 
brilliant South light fall directly upon them from the front, the 
effect of which would be injury to the eyes from the insupportable 
glare and the reflection from white paper. Side lights are there- 
fore to be preferred, and of the two the left side-light is superior 
and should be secured whenever possible. This conclusion har- 
monizes with general experience, in the office, the study and the 
Schoolroom. 1 

It is highly gratifying to learn that on the Continent many 

1 The light must be sufficiently strong and fall on the table from the left- 
hand side, and, as far as possible, from above (Dr. R. Liebrich, "School-life 
in its influence on Sight "). 


Educational Bodies have decreed that Vertical Writing be adopted 
in their Schools, and have also issued directions and instructions 
for the use of their teachers. 

For example, the Imperial and Royal National School Board 
of Bohemia appends to its decree concerning Vertical Writing the 
following recommendations to its teachers. 

1. Careful attention should be paid to the strict maintenance 
of the straight middle position of the Book so that the lines of 
writing run parallel to the edge of the desk. 

2. In the initial teaching the lines should be short. For this 
reason the pages of existing books must be divided by perpendi- 
cular strokes into two sections and be written consecutively like 
separate pages. 

3. Copying from subject-matter lying sideways to the left is 
to be avoided, because otherwise the children would sit between 
the writing surface and the matter to be copied, and so the Middle 
position of the former would be lost. 

4. Both lower arms must rest two-thirds on the desk, quite 
symmetrically, so that they meet before the middle of the body 
and there form a right angle. Both elbows, and therefore also the 
right-, should be at least a handbreadth distant from the trunk. 

5. The hand in the act of writing should be placed in such a 
way that the palm (the inner surface of the hand) is perpendicular 
to the desk, or only a little inclined to the left. The little finger 
edge of the palm must not touch the writing surface, the hand 
must rest on the outer edge of the nail joint of the little finger, 
which should be slightly bent like the ring finger resting on it, on 
which again, the middle finger and through it the whole group of 
the three fingers that guide the pen-holder have to be supported. 

6. The pen-holder should be light, thick, not smooth, and 
suitably long. It should be lightly grasped at a distance of 3 c.m. 
from the point of the pen, the middle finger should be laid on 
the holder in such a way that the latter is pressed lightly against 
the middle of the nail-joint cf the middle finger by the thumb 
lying on the left side. The fore-finger forms a plain curve with- 
out any cramping of its joints. 


7. The upper end of the holder must be directed towards the 
elbow, but never towards the shoulder of the writer and be inclined 
about 45 to the surface of the writing. The pen should not be 
too fine but somewhat broad and elastic. 

8. The writing arm must again and again be pushed to the 
right so that its successive positions always remain parallel. This 
gliding takes place on the nail-joint of the little finger, but not on 
the ball of the hand which should be slightly elevated over the 
base point of support. 

9. The book or paper must, after every line, be pushed up 
accordingly, in order that a suitable distance may be always 
preserved between the point of the writing pen and the lower 
edge of the desk. 

10. The upper body ought not to bend forward, the breast 
should not be supported on the edge of the desk, the head should 
be bent only s ightly, the distance of the eyes from the writing 
should amount to from 30 to 35 c.m. 

11. The writing never ought to last for a long time uninter- 
ruptedly, but should be broken by a few minutes at short intervals, 
and in the pause thus made easy free-exercises should be 

12. With respect to the fact that the first part of the primers 
hitherto in use is still written in the oblique style, the exercises in 
the reading and writing of the Vertical Style are to be taken on 
the black-board so long as no primers with Upright Penmanship 
are approved. 

Other bodies are issuing similar instructions. Indeed .the 
seven rules drawn up by the Commission on Vertical writing, 
appointed by the Society of Public Hygiene at Niirnberg, are 
identical with a corresponding number of those already given from 
the Bohemia School Board. 

How closely these approximate to the English instructions 
formulated and circulated by the Author seven or eight years ago 
the reader can observe for himself. 

No teacher need have the slightest hesitation in introducing 


and adopting the Upright Style and Posture. Even without a 
knowledge of the principles of the system, it can advantageously 
be employed in classes and schools with the assurance of satis- 
factory and superior results. 

The only variation on the above canon is in Ornamental 
Penmanship, a subject which we do not contemplate discussing at 
length in this work. A passing reference is all that is necessary. 
The phrase includes the production of Ornate Alphabets such as 
Old English, German Text and the like, and also the department 
of Striking or Flourishing which consists in embellishing alphabets 
or letters with free graceful and intricate curves, and further 
in striking out animals, birds and other objects in flourishing 
outlines with the pen. Our Writing Masters from the i6th 
Century to some fifty years ago excelled in this Artistic acquire- 
ment, indeed their specimens of elaborate design and flourish 
are something wonderful to behold. In order to arrive at any 
degree of perfection in this branch an immense amount of time 
and much laborious practice are required. Consequently Orna- 
mental Penmanship is now almost entirely relegated to the 
lithographer and engraver, as even were it easily acquired (which 
it is not) the pressure of modern commercial life would render it 
both superfluous and impracticable. Hence nothing beyond 
plain Handwriting is taught in our best Schools, and Writing 
Masters, whose recommendations consisted in the marvellous 
Caligraphic and beautifully written specimens of flourishing 
Designs they could display, have disappeared and left not a 
vestige behind, save in the preservation of some of their Master- 
pieces in our National Museums and Libraries. 

The rules for holding the pen in flourishing are quite different 
to those obtaining in plain writing. The pen should point quite 
outwards to the right and the two forefingers must be bent up 
and not kept straight or nearly so as in ordinary current hand. 




THE English Alphabet is both written and printed in two kinds 
of letters- Capital and Small. In this chapter we are concerned 
solely with the written or Script Alphabet. So many diversified 
forms have been given and are at present in use for Script 
Capitals, and also, but in a much less degree, for small letters 
that it may be advisable to give a series of outlines, which shall 
contain as far as possible all the essentials of a clear bold and 
elegant simplicity, and shall at the same time, by the facility with 
which they are made, secure the highest possible rate of speed. 
On this series will be based the analysis which, so far as general 
elements can be grouped, arranges the letters for class instruc- 

The small letters are 

a Ir c ct e I a fi i i It I 

m Tb a h, CI T 4 t tl TJ 

(JO X U Ty 

FIG. 27. 

with the following duplicate forms \j S "X, Z which 
have a numerous following of ardent supporters. In selecting the 


outlines for our Capitals the aim has been to adopt as far as could 
be done the assimilations to the small letters whenever greater 
simplicity, ease or speed would be thereby attained. 
The Capitals are 

FIG. i8. 

The variations on the above are simply legion, but it would be 
difficult if not impossible to find shorter outlines or plainer. 

Returning to the small letters, they naturally group themselves 
into about eight classes which are fairly distinctive. For all teach- 
ing purposes this analysis will be found sufficiently elaborate in 
its gradation and scientific in its principle of arrangement. 

Class I. 

(JU t Class V ' I/ Tb 

IT. Tb TTL h, vi. I/ a U 

vii. fr ir v 

in. c -e o 

iv. Ou ( O/ ,,vm. A 

Variations on the above scheme can be made without 
materially affecting the efficiency of the teaching. 

Many eminent authorities for nstance object to the early 


introduction of the long letters and there is admitted force in their 
objections. Naturally if we permit expediency to enter intc the 
analysis the scientific aspect and character must suffer, at least to 
some extent. 

Recognising however the strength of the arguments adduced, a 
second classification is offered which it is hoped will fully satisfy 
all requirements as to the gradual introduction of the long 

Class 1. b W n TTL Class V. t K (L 

TT c jp rr vi 

11 ** Vy *O vx " 

, in. 1^ 07 LAJ vii. L O. 

iv. CL A X VIIL 

l to t 

Class I. The letters / consist 

FIG. 31. 

solely of the right line and the final curve line, which is generally 
called a link, the dot of the i and the cross of the t not being 
constituent elements properly so called. As all words and com- 
binations of letters are written continuously the letters of this 
class will join each other chiefly at the upper end. 

A set of headlines on these three letters will begin with the 
right line, then the link should be introduced, lastly combinations 
of the character formed of the right line and link. Even at this 
early stage the teacher should endeavour to secure perfect rigidity 
of the down strokes, and strange as it may seem, such honest 
endeavour will generally be successful. 


9 8 


Class II. introduces but one new element viz. the initial 
curve cr as it is called the hook. Again but three letters 

compose this group one of 

FIG. 32. 

which, p, will offer some difficulty because of its extraordinary 
length. Why should not English teachers introduce the custom 
so common on the Continent and begin the p at the top of the 
small letters instead of commencing it so far above them? It 
would be quite as legible and distinctive. 

FIG. 33. 

For our own part we much prefer the short stroke whether from a 
practical or an educational standpoint. The junctions in this 
group will principally be at the foot of the stroke and at or near 
the top, as shown in Fig. 34. 

Exercises and Headlines on this and succeeding classes will of 
course contain abundant practice on all preceding letters and 

Class III. including the simple curved letters will require some 

care, the tapering strokes peculiar to f I) (} 

w -\y U 

FIG. 35. 



being novel and not easy to accomplish. Blackboard illustration 
with a profuse series of varied headline copies will overcome every 

In forming the letter e the up stroke must never be broken 
but the up stroke from a preceding letter must be continued 
without any angular deflection into the loop of the e as shown in 
the diagram (Fig. 36). 


FIG. 36. 

With regard to the letter o it is begun on the top and not at 
the side which would necessitate a lifting of the pen. 


FIG. 37. 

Class IV. The three members of this class 

cu cLa 

FIG. 38. 

are merely adaptations of elements previously given. There is a 
notion abroad that, since a and cognate letters are apparently 
made up of the letter o and other characters, consequently a 
perfect o must first be written before the remaining parts of the 
letters (a, d, g and q). To restrict writing to any such arbitrary and 
rigid laws would be to greatly discount its highest function. And 
besides such rules are never observed in ordinary penmanship 
where utility will over-ride all such limiting and cramping regula- 



tions. What we must have is simplicity of outline, ease of junction 
and rapidity in tracing ; it is therefore recommended that for pur- 
poses of continuity and speed the connecting upstrokes of these 
letters rise from the outside in large and set small hands, whilst 
for running or corresponding writing they rise from the inside. 

Class V. brings us to the upward loop letters of which the 
simplest representatives are 1 and h. The Joop as a rule forms 
half the extreme length of the letter although in small hand it 
is slightly longer. The loop should be well and boldly made 
particular care being taken to guard against the common danger 
and fault of curving the down strokes, as in the right-hand figure. 



Inverting the loops we reach 
Class VI. composed of 


FIG. 40. 

in which the same* rules as to length apply so far as the loops 
are concerned. As previously stated the loops in all letters 
should be made sufficiently long for legibility, but not a fraction 
of an inch longer than is necessary to achieve that end. 

As in the preceding class the greatest danger will be in the 
down stroke. It must be made absolutely right or straight 

When loops are curved an insipid and imperfect style is deve- 


loped whereas when the rigid right lines^ ^r^^msistei upon; t^e 
writing becomes strikingly precise, nervous and pleasing. 

Class VII. contains the crotchet letters 



The crotchet is not hard to make and the open form is pre- 
ferable to the closed style as it is made with greater ease and 
imparts more freedom to writing, although in very rapid caligraphy 
it resolves itself into a mere angle. Both kinds however are in 
constant use. 

Class VIII. The five remaining letters of the alphabet which 
form this group have no principle in common, nor can they con- 
veniently enter into any other class. 


FIG. 43. 

The letter s rises above the other small letters as does also 

ruvhsrr written in this form. The two following ex- 
tremes of the s must be avoided. 


FIG. 44. 

X may be considered as formed of two c's placed back to back 
the first being inverted. This letter has several modifications and 
it is the only letter that as a rule requires the pen to be lifted 
in its formation. Two of the modifications however are continu- 
ous although neither of them is very frequently met with. 

F is a very long letter having two loops both of which should 
be boldly made as in Fig. 43. 

Z is also totally unlike any of its fellows and will require sepa- 
rate treatment. 

Ample practice should be afforded on these unique outlines. 

Lastly the letter k comes in with its compound and difficult 

FIG. 45. 

curves. How often is it that we see a graceful or a nice-look- 
ing k ? Very seldom indeed, and the four outlines in the 
adjoining figure are typical of the distortions that do duty for the 
genuine article. 

The Capitals may be dismissed with but few remarks. They 
are made up primarily of Curves and it is the shape and several 
or relative sizes of these Curves that cause most trouble. 

The characters should be analyzed on the blackboard and 
full) explained, the relation of the various parts being clearly 
defined and illustrated. 

Afterwards the pupils may be left to imitate their headlines, 
careful supervision being all that is required. An approximate 


classification of the Capital letters is the only possible one, unless 
the divisions be unreasonably multiplied. 

They may be arranged in the following order : 

Class I : V, U, W, N, M, Y. 
II : O, A, C 5 G, E. 
III: P, B, R. 
IV : I, J, T, F. 
V : S, L. 
VI : D, H, Q, X, Z. 

This or some similar gi on ping of the Capitals should be 
followed that the instruction may be properly graduated, the 
scholars being specially urged to examine and imitate the 
engraved headline copies, for if the pupil succeed in securing a 
vivid mental conception of the true outline of any letter he will 
find little difficulty in transferring that conception to paper ; the 
trouble as previously intimated is not so much with the fingers as 
with the brain. 




Two methods which have been propounded for the teaching of 
writing have commended themselves strongly and successfully t j 
the approval of the profession. One of these was elaborated by 
Mulhauser with whose system every teacher is more or less 
familiar, the other emanated from Locke. Both methods have 
their merits and both their disadvantages, as might be expected 
when the undeveloped character of the art and science of writing 
at the time is taken into consideiation. 

Mulhauser's Method is analytic and then Synthetic. He first 
decomposes the letters into their fundamental strokes, calling these 
respectively the right line, curve line, loop and crotchet. The 
letters of the alphabet are then classified according to this analysis 
as follows : 

Class i. i, u, t, 1 (right line and link). 

2. n, m. h, p (hook, right line and link). 

3. c, e, o (curve line). 

4. a, d, q (curve, right line and link). 

5. g, j, y (loop letters). 

6. b, f, r, v, w (crotchet letters). 

7. k, s, x, z (anomalous or irregular letters). 

As an aid to the pupils the Copy Books are ruled in rhom- 
boids (the style being slanting) to regulate the size, width and 
slope of the writing. 

The advantages of this method are that it is scientific in its 
analysis, graduated to an extent in its arrangement, and 


intelligent in its general construction and j.resentation to the 
juvenile mind. Many objections have been taken hovever to the 
scheme by teachers, some of which are more fanciful than real and 
others more prejudiced than pertinent. There are certainly how- 
ever (apart from the vital objection of slope) some few drawbacks, 
but these do not militate sufficiently to destroy its value as a 
feasible and workable method on which to teach writing, if 
teachers will only modify it as the requirements of their classes 
demand. It will be noticed that the classification given in these 
pages (p. 96) resembles that of Mulhauser from which it varies 
only in a slight degree warranted we think by the incongruity of 
presenting as Mulhauser does the very difficult long letters 
h and 1 before such easy letters as c, e, O, and elsewhere simi- 

Many of Locke's ideas are forceful, but some are certainly 
peculiar. He insists that children shall be taught, and perfectly 
taught, how to hold the pen before they are allowed to make a 
stroke. He also maintains that large hand shall be taught before 
small hand, and that writing shall for a considerable length of time 
consist of tracing over faint red-ink outlines printed in the Copy 
books. His method may therefore be briefly summarized as 
follows : 

Stjp i. How to hold the pen. 

2. How to sit and to place the book. 

3. Tracing over large hand copies in faint red ink. 

}> 4- small ,, ,, ,, ,, ,j n 

5. Copying from large-hand Headlines. 

6. small 

There is an unquestioned advantage, which none can fail to 
recognise, in teaching a child how to hold the pen at the very 
beginning of his caligraphic course, but whether it is better to do 
this before a stroke is made or whilst the strokes are being made 
is a question for discussion. So long as the right way of holding 
the pen is secured (and it may certainly be secured by both 
methods) it will matter very little as to the exact and relative 


moment when it shall be accomplished. The tracing, especially 
so much of it as Locke recommends, is now considered injurious 
rather than otherwise by the majority of critics. In the most 
elementary stages tracing is helpful ; afterwards we believe to be 
harmful. Lastly, beginning with a very large hand is an evil 
already proved and we need not recapitulate. 

The general method prescribed in this manual may be looked 
upon as being compounded of the two just reviewed, one in which 
the danger of too much science in the one case, and of too much 
mechanical art in the other are euually avoided. 

In offering, shall we say in presuming to offer, a few directions 
for class teaching there is great risk in running foul of many old- 
fashioned and established prejudices. Perhaps on no point 
connected with School Work is there so great a multiplicity of 
opinions as to how writing should be taught. No two persons in 
a hundred will agree on half a dozen given questions. Authors of 
Manuals on Education, Inspectors, Training College Lecturers, 
and Teachers are all individually so many separate, independent, 
and oracular authorities as to how to teach writing. 

And we are not now referring so much to methods in general 
as to processes in particular. Whatever method be adopted 
" How shall it be taught successfully " ? is what concerns us. 

Presumably there is a satisfactory answer to this question. It 
is certainly possible to invest the teaching of writing with an 
interest that shall render the subject most attractive to the pupils 
and there is no reason why the writing lesson should not be one 
of the most fascinating studies in the schoolroom. Of course to 
attain this the master must first of all be enthusiastic himself, 
for Enthusiasm is Contagious. To do a thing well it must be 
done thoroughly ; in the teaching of penmanship equally as in 
other departments. Teachers must be energetic, lively and earnest, 
then and not till then will the classes be interested, enthusiastic 
and determined. It will be found profitable to introduce dis- 
cussions in the class when such and such outlines are analysed 
or illustrated on the Blackboard. Intense excitement for instance 
can be roused on the duplicate forms of such letters as s, r, 


X, z, and whilst inviting and encouraging the free expression of 
opinion the teacher can guide the minds of his pupils to a right 
and sound conclusion by his own matured views and higher 

Another valuable adjunct is Class Practice on the Blackboard. 
Nothing in the round of everyday School life is more appreciated 
by children than this interesting exercise. A certain word or 
phrase is proposed, and selected pupils are required to write it on 
the Board. (This selection of pupils should include the entire 
class in rotation, any preferential distinctions being invidious and 
quickly detected by the juveniles.) When the Blackboard is filled, 
or a sufficient number have written, the \\ork of criticism begins 
and may occasionally be allowed to culminate in a vote as to which 
is the best line. 

During the criticism, which in the hands of the teacher may 
be rendered highly educative as well as deeply absorbing, and 
whilst the faults, exaggerations, defects, &c., are carefully noted 
the scholars should be encouraged to discover the several points 
of excellence, as it must never be forgotten that Commendation 
animates the (juvenile) mind and proves one of the most powerful 
levers at the disposal of the teacher. 

A lesson of this kind once a fortnight or so will be eagerly 
anticipated by the pupils, and it will prove also an efficient and 
agreeable relief to the ordinary routine of the writing class. 

A further variety consists in a given copy being written in 
different ways by the teacher on the Blackboard, to be inspected 
and criticised by the class. The zest displayed in criticising his 
work will be as amusing as surprising, and not the less profit- 
able. Every defect will be keenly scrutinised, every possible 
shade of opinion expressed and progress proportionately stimu- 

Then again interest of a totally different kind may be intro- 
duced by occasional competitions amongst the pupils, such as 
racing against time or against each other. Let a certain extract 
be prescribed and instruct the class to copy out accurately, and 
well, and as quickly as possible until the signal to stop is sounded. 


Then the work being collected it is arranged in order of merit, due 
allowance for quantity being made when marking for quality. 

A modification of this exercise is to write a Copy on the black- 
board for imitation and repetition during a certain specified time 
as before. The pupils who are conspicuous for their slowness in 
these practices should have extra time given them for separate 
tuition, that they may become more expeditious. If each week 
the best specimens thus produced were on exhibition in th-j Class 
or Schoolroom, the writers would be encouraged to a still greater 
degree of effort and ambition. 

Yet another variation is to get a volunteer to write a copy on 
the Blackboard and afterwards to criticise it himself. This varia- 
tion frequently gives rise to very entertaining but also beneficial 
remarks. Pupils grow increasingly expert at the task and thus 
insensibly to themselves, the development of their mental apprecia- 
tion and mechanical ability in the art of writing progresses with 
great rapidity. A word or two with reference to Home Work. 
All the labour of the teacher will be greatly discounted if not 
neutralized should he neglect to strictly supervise the written 
Home exercises of his scholars. Special marks for neatness in all 
written work should be awarded, and penalties of varying character 
be inflicted for deliberate carelessness in this matter. Where the 
ordinary arithmetical and written exercises are thus made to sup- 
plement and support the class teaching, results of the happiest 
kind will inevitably follow. 

A flagrant case of scribble reproduced by the Master on the 
Blackboard for the adverse criticism of his Schoolfellows will 
generally act as a specific for either spasmodic or chronic cases, 
since boys do not relish the idea of being'tield up to either ridicule 
or censure from their own companions. 

Many other expedients of a similar kind can be resorted to for 
the purpose of engendering a praiseworthy emulation amongst the 
writers. Every week will possess its special opportunity and 
supply material wherewith to point a lesson or adorn a rule. Now 
it may be a curious manuscript ; again it will be an equally curious 
letter that can thus be utilized. Finally a most powerful stimulus 


can be infused into the class by periodically placing the Copy 
Books in order of merit and exhibiting the list on the Notice 
Board a test of their comparative merits which finds favour 
immensely with the pupils, who are thus encouraged to strain 
every power in the desire and struggle to get well placed. 

The following general instructions for class-teaching include 
most if not all the chief points that can arise in a writing lesson. 

1. Secure and maintain correct position of writers, books and 

2. See that every pupil is provided will all necessary material. 

3. Remind the class at the beginning of each lesson that the 
writing must be uniform in Size, Shape and Direction. 

4. Strongly forbid all quick writing. 

5. Make a liberal use of the Blackboard for purposes of ana- 
lysis, correction and illustration. 

6. Permit no pupil to remain idle or unemployed waiting for 
others to finish : let each writer work independently of his 

7. Insist upon continuity in the writing of every word save 
those in which the letter x occurs. 

8. Frequently remind the Class that writing is a kind of 
drawing and that the sole object is to fac- simile the Copies. 

9. Let your motto be approval rather than censure. 

10. Pens must not be wiped on the dress nor must ink be 
jerked or thrown upon the floor. 

11. Writers must not paint their letters, that is thicken or 
mend them after 'being once made. 

12. Always mark the writing relatively, and not apart from the 
age and ability of the writer. 

13. Avoid favouritism ; encourage naturally poor writers ; be 
severely strict with all careless pupils. 

14. Rather give copy books that are too easy than those 
which are too difficult. 

15. Utilize all available Competitions for your classes. The 
stimulus of " Prizes " or " Rewards " is universally needed in every 
walk of life, more particularly in a juvenile writing Class. 


1 6. Make a special study of any hopelessly bad writers : never 
despair of entirely reforming such. 

17. Post the names of the best writers and of the most diligent 
writers on the walls of the Class or Schoolroom. 

1 8. Caution the class against plunging pens to the bottom of 
the inkwells. 

19. Guard against writing too long at once; relieve by rests 
in which theory may be illustrated on blackboard. 

20. In writing, more than in any other subject, strive to keep 
the pupils in a good humour. 

We shall conclude this chapter with a few hints to writers. 


1. Write vertically. 

2. Write continuously. 

3. Write uniformly. 

4. Write plainly. 

5. Write slowly. 

6. Discard all flourishes. 

7. Make the simplest capital letters possible. 

8. Avoid heavy or thick writing. 

9. Make short loops. 

10. Don't grasp the pen tightly. 

11. Keep the fingers' ends clear of the nib. 

12. Use plain penholders not fancy ones. 

13. Avoid striking pen to bottom of inkstand. 

14. Use a wet sponge for penwiper. 

15. Always keep the thumb slightly bent up. 

16. Write evenly with both points of the nib. 

17. Push up the book as the writing descends. 

1 8. Sit easy and erect before the book. 

19. Avoid all twisting of the body. 

20. Keep both arms free from the sides. 

21. Point the pen towards the elbow. 

22. Keep the fingers easily straight. 




THE History of Vertical Writing is the History of all Writing, as, 
up to about the middle of the i6th century such a thing as Sloping 
Writing was unknown. In its earliest and crudest forms writing 
was upright, whether pictorial, hieroglyphic or alphabetical. It 
has never been definitely ascertained and probably never will be 
whether writing originated in one centre, radiating thence to other 
and surrounding Countries, or concurrently in several and all 
independent of each other. The Mexican and Chinese yield us 
the most ancient specimens, whilst the honour of discovering the 
Alphabet alternates between the Egyptians and Phoenicians. 

In England and on the Continent alike all writing is vertical 
until we reach the time of Elizabeth. From about A.D. 596 to the 
Norman Conquest the writing in Britain was Saxon and of five 
distinctive kinds. i. The Roman Saxon, 2. The Set Saxon, 
3. The running hand Saxon, 4. The Middle Saxon, and 5. The 
Elegant Saxon. William the First then introduced the Norman 
style which like its Saxon predecessor was perpendicular and 
remained so until the introduction of the Italian Sloping hand as 
mentioned. The Vertical Style survived much longer in some 
parts on the Continent but as will be seen from the plates of speci- 
mens chronologically arranged (Figs. 46 to 49) German handwriting 
succumbed to the new fashion much in the same way and at the 
same time as its neighbours. The posture, erect and straight, 
adopted by writers in those times is depicted in Figs, i and 2, 
as is also the middle straight position of the book or parchment. 
In the sixteenth century, then, Lawyers began to engross their 
conveyances and legal instruments in Sloping characters or letters 




- 1 i J l 

i ! 1 1 

3 *b-S 

-i n 





* ^ 



a g 


x ; 

^v ffi 












called " Secretary " which with only slight modification still survive. 
These Secretary letters, forming the first loping written alphabet 
ever introduced into England, are reproduced here as being of a 
most interesting nature (Fig. 50). It will be noticed on examina- 


tion that all the more complex outlines have now been dropped as 
for instance the S, r, and p, and where not dropped have become 
much simplified e.g. the Capitals D, H, K, M, N, &c. This 
sloping alphabet has been in general use for two centuries, Verti- 


cal Writing having disappeared one may say almost completely 
from every department of Caligraphy. 

The sloping innovation was considered so favourable to the 
development of a new art (the art of flourishing) by which 
Writing Masters could exhibit their wonderful caligraphic gym- 
nastics that it quickly became general and in a comparatively 
short time universal. 

Mysterious and incapable of explanation are the phenomenon 
and the fact that no recorded serious attempt has ever been made to 
revive the discarded and forgotten Vertical Style until about seven 
years ago, when the first Series of Headline Copy Books in 
Upright Penmanship appeared, as the pioneer of a movement 
that has grown to most gratifying proportions. Literature on 
Vertical Writing followed, as did also a still more complete and 
comprehensive series of Vertical Writing Copy Books, and these 
may fairly be looked upon as the precursors of a revival that 
shall replace Upright Penmanship on a foundation, which is as 
scientific and permanent as it is ancient and unrivalled. 

Several remarkable coincidences have attended the revival of 
Upright Penmanship in England and on the Continent. In the 
former both Educational and medical strivings and aspirations 
towards the Vertical were made independently and simultaneously. 
Indeed it was not until some time subsequent to the publication 
of the first series of Vertical Writing Copy Books, that the author 
discovered, quite accidentally, that medical talent had been 
engaged on a similar quest, had prosecuted a similar investigation, 
had arrived at the same conclusion, and had given utterance to 
the same decisions in various books and pamphlets. 

The Educational movement was originated and promu Igated 
by a Teacher who had been a Vertical Writer from his youth, and 
it was therefore the natural outgrowth of a life study, the inevitable 
development and expression of a long and varied experience, in 
which the superior claims and advantages of the System of Vertical 
Writing had been demonstrated repeatedly; and demonstrated, be 
it added, under circumstances the most unfavourable and crucial. 
The Medical Investigation which was carried on simultaneously 


appears to have arisen from quite a foreign source although it 
resulted in an identical issue. Spinal Curvature and Short Sight 
had become so general amongst School-children and were increas- 
ing to such an alarming extent, that a special enquiry into the 
cause of such prevalence by medical men was considered impera- 
tive. In the course of this important enquiry many valuable dis- 
coveries and suggestions were made, and as previously intimated 
these researches culminated in the astonishing revelation that, first, 
Slanting Writing was the undoubted cause of such seriously im- 
paired functions and health, and, second, that Vertical Writing was 
the only remedy that could be prescribed. The wording of their 
decision and prescription has already been given, it could not be 
in more positive and unqualified terms (see page 15). 

These concurrent agitations dated from about the year 1870 
to the year 1887 when the two forces combined (each being com- 
plementary to the other) and now the united powers are concen- 
trating their energies on the same enterprise, and towards the one 
object of Establishing the Writing of Our Country on a 
Sound Hygienic, Educational, and Caligraphic basis viz. on the 
principles of Upright Penmanship. 

But stranger still, whilst all this was proceeding in Great Britain 
an exactly identical and dual movement was being prosecuted in 
several centres on the Continent with precisely similar features, 
the Medical taking the lead or predominating over the Educational 
as it has done at home. 

Teachers in Switzerland, Wurtemburg, Austria, Germany and 
Denmark, as well as in England, strongly resented this imaginary 
encroachment upon their rights ; and that they therefore denounced 
the finding of the Doctors as an infringement of their prerogative 
goes without saying. " Was it to be thought or even dreamed of 
" that teachers did not know what they were about ? that the entire 
" profession had been teaching an absolutely pernicious style or 
" System of Writing for all these years and generations ? Perish 
"the thought! Doctors were well, to put it mildly mistaken, 
" and knew nothing about Educational matters at all ! " 

Unfortunately a lamentably large number of teachers, both at 


home and abroad, still shelter themselves behind this disreputable 
and unworthy protest, wilfully closing their eyes and ears to the 
evidence and facts, and refusing to be either convinced or con- 
verted. This kind of opposition soon melted away on the con- 
tinent and resolved itself into a much modified but rational mode 
of objection. As will be seen immediately, the logic and facts of 
the Experts have won a hearing and established their verity, thus 
opening up avenues along which "Vertical Writing" is rapidly 
riding on to victory. But here the phlegmatic character of the 
Britisher asserts itself for notwithstanding the most vigorous circu- 
lation of literature on the subject, despite the unanimous and 
united testimonies of hundreds of professional gentlemen both 
Medical and Scholastic, and in the very face of the numerous 
triumphs of the System wherever introduced, the " English 
Teacher " is in many cases supremely indifferent to the matter, 
the Educational Press gently pats Verticality on the back, whilst 
the English Government and Education Department appear to be 
oblivious to the whole question. (See note, p. 125.) 

If we cross the channel what a contrast meets us. Teachers 
there have become alive to their responsibilities in the matter, 
large numbers of the most prominent educationists have embraced 
the system and adopted it ; numerous teachers are using and re- 
commending it ; Educational Societies and Corporations are pro- 
nouncing in favour of it ; Hygienic Councils are approving of 
and promoting it ; and Cabinets are not only sanctioning its use 
but prescribing it in the schools of their dominions. The crusade 
is active and countries are rivalling each other in their endeavours 
to be in the van. From a voluminous correspondence with Drs. 
Bayr (Vienna), Kotelmann (Hamburg), Lorenz (Vienna), Scharff 
(Flensburg), Schubert (Nuremberg) and other eminent Physicians 
and Teachers it appears that "Vertical Writing" is being 
adopted eagerly by the profession in many districts of these 
countries. In Vienna alone for example Upright Penmanship 
is practised in no less than 80 Schools with 300 classes, and by 
100 Schools in Bavaria. A brief epitome of the chief events in the 
history of this agitation on the Continent will not be out of place. 


The question as to the importance of Slope or direction in 
writing was raised by Drs. Ellinger and Gross in 1877-8, with 
the result that Roman characters with vertical downstrokes were 
recommended in preference to sloping German letters. Dr. 
Martins of Ansbach district Medical Officer of health next 
brought the subject before the Central Franconia Medical 
Chamber in 1879. In the following year Dr. Paul Schubert 
addressing the same Medical Board made an attempt to show that 
perpendicular writing must supersede the present sloping style, 
and Dr. Cohn at the Naturalists' Congress in Danzig simultane- 
ously declared himself for " steep " writing, being quite in ignorance 
of Dr. Schubert's action. Following immediately upon this come 
investigations by Drs. Mayer (Fiirth), Daiber (Stuttgart), Weber 
(Darmstadt) and by the Paris Commission who in a body declared 
themselves in favour of Vertical Writing. * Opinions were of 
course still divided, and in his prize essay on the Causes and 
Prevention of Blindness, Professor Fiichs declared that the final 
decision was only to be arrived at from experiments, systematically 
conducted, in Vertical Writing in whole classes and beginning 
with the first school year. It was reserved for the Central Fran- 
conia Medical Board, which at its sittings never lost sight of 
Upright Penmanship, to attack and promote this question bringing 
it nearer to the final issue. In consequence of a motion passed in 
1887 by this board, The Royal Bavarian Ministry of the Interior 
decided that experiments in Vertical Writing should be undertaken 
in Schools, on a larger scale. Hence in the Autumn of 1888 two 
first classes of the public School in Fiirth and two similar ones in 
the training college in Schwabach began instruction in writing ex- 
clusively in the perpendicular style. These experiments were 
supplemented in the Autumn of 1889 by three first public School 
classes in Nuremberg as well as by the first class for preparation 
of the humanistic gymnasium. At the same time perpendicular 
writing was introduced into a series of Classes by Dr. Bayr in 
Vienna and in Flensburg under Principal Dr. Sch rff. 

From all these schools the experiences were most favourable 
to Vertical Writing. The declaration of its superiority in relation 

*See Dr. Javal " Physiology of Writing," Pocket Pedagogical Library, No. 3. 


to erect healthy postures has been verified and confirmed to the 
fullest extent, whilst as to speed both Drs. Bayr and Scharff testify 
to the greater rapidity with which Upright Caligraphy can be 
produced. " My best vertically writing scholar requiring 24 
" minutes whilst the best oblique writer required 30 minutes to 
" write off a certain prescribed poem." 

The results obtained by Miss Seidl municipal teacher at 
Vienna are identical and equally gratifying. 

Her letter on the point is so interesting that we reproduce 
a translation of it. 

" My female pupils whose instruction I directed from the first 
" class onwards till they passed over into the City middle class 
"school (i.e. for five )ears) during the four school years from 
" 1885-6 to 1888 9 wrote the usual sloping writing with oblique 
"middle position with a 30 to 40 angle of inclination of the 
" copybook marked on the desk before them. 

"At the beginning of the school year 1889-90 I introduced 
" some of my pupils to Vertical Writing whilst the others kept 
" to Sloping Writing. In this way it was possible to ascertain 
" in the course of a year by personal inspection what were the 
" essential advantages which Vertical Writing offers over Sloping 

" During the whole of my nine years' experience in the School 
" I contended with all conceivable means against the crooked 
" sitting and oblique vision of the children in the writing lesson, 
" but I must honestly admit it without the desired result, and in 
" the cases where I obtained a good bodily posture, the Cali- 
" graphic outcome did not correspond to the demands hitherto 
" made by Sloping Writing, that is to say it was too steep or too 
" near the Vertical. 

" What I with Sloping \Vriting obtained only in an imperfect 
" way in spite of long and tiring effort, Vertical Writing made 
" possible even in a few weeks of its use viz. a fine upright 
"position of body, avoidance of the haimful inclination of the 
"head, and of the no less injurious leaning of the chest on the 
" desk. 


" From the correct attitude of body follows also a greater 
" distance of the eyes from the writing. The pupils wrote 
" throughout some very short-sighted ones excepted with the 
" normal distance of the eyes from the Copybook, several indeed 
" with more than the normal distance. 

" The transition from the Sloping Writing, which had been 
" practised for four years, to Vertical Writing involved no kind of 
" difficulty to the children, either in regard to posture of body or 
" in technical respects. 

" As regards faultless posture and beauty of Writing, all the 
"pupils yielded thoroughly satisfactorily and indeed often 
" surprising results. In a short time most of the Vertical Writing 
" children made twice as great improvement in their Writing, a 
" large number even four times as great. 

" On comparing a Copybook in which the Writing is at first 
" Sloping and afterwards Vertical, it could be seen with satisfac- 
tion what an incomparably more favourable impression Vertical 
" Writing made on the beholder in contradistinction to Sloping 
" Writing. 

" In respect to rapidity of production too I have met with no 
" difficulty of any kind as regards keeping the lines parallel to the 
"edge of the desk and maintaining the correct attitude. Indeed 
" in Writing Competitions undertaken for the purpose of putting 
" the question to the test of experiment, many of the Sloping Writing 
" children fell behind those who wrote Vertically. 

" In respect of clearness and legibility, and therefore beauty of 
"Writing, specimens of Sloping and Vertical Caligraphy and 
"rapid Writing show a very significant difference, decisively in 
" favour of Vertical Writing. 

" Finally it should be remembered too, that School Discipline 
"finds a great support in Vertical Writing, because it renders 
" possible a better and easier supervision of the children in the 
"Writing lesson. 


" Vienna, November, 1890." 


Many associations of teachers as well as individual Head- 
masters have approved of and adopted the Vertical Writing, e.g. 
the Lubeck Association in May 1891, so that now in a very large 
and increasing number of cities and centres the new system is 
making rapid headway. It can therefore be safely stated that in 
Switzerland, Germany, Austria, France and Denmark the Veitical 
Writing has got a sure footing and has every prospect of making 
good its claims and position. 

The Royal Bavarian Ministry prescribed Experimental adop- 
tion of Vertical Writing on a larger Scale 1892. 

The Royal Imperial National School Board of Briim (Moravia) 
decreed Experimental^ Introduction of Vertical Writing in its 
Schools for School year 1891-2. 

The Royal Imperial District School Board Inschkau Bohemia 
in June 1891 decreed the discussion of Vertical Writing in the 
Conferences. Consequently some 500 Schools have adopted it. 

The Imperial Educational Authority of Grand Duchy Baden 
ordered experimental introduction of Vertical Writing into their 

The Berlin Teachers' Union requests City School Commis- 
sion to introduce Vertical Writing experimentally. 

In Troppau (Austrian Silesia) the District Teachers' Conference 
unanimously resolved to introduce Vertical Writing into all public 
and City Schools. 

The Educational Authorities have already set on foot the 
practice of Vertical Writing in Frankfort on Maine. 

In Flensburg all save three schools write Vertically. 

Dr. Bayr says that "over 400 Educationists have visited the 
"Vertical Writing Classes in the Institution under my control; 
"enquiries are coming in from every side." 

The Royal Imperial National School Board Bohemia (May 
1891) declared : 

1. Vertical Writing to be preferable to Sloping Writing from 

the Hygienic Standpoint ; and also 

2. Declared itself favourable to the Experimental introduction 

of Vertical Writing into its Schools. 


The twin Resolutions of the Vienna Council and the London 
Congress are a very fitting consummation to the sister campaigns 
and to the previous deliverances of authoritative Educational 
and Medical Corporations to which reference has been made 
throughout the pages of this work. The appended list of 
Congresses, Councils and Celebrities, the latter distinguished for 
their scientific and educational attainments, who after patient and 
exhaustive research aided by profuse experiments have emphati- 
cally declared in favour of Upright Penmanship will indicate the 
extent of the reaction on the Continent. 


1. Naturalists' Congress, Dantzic, 1880. 

2. Medical Council of Middle Franconia, 1887. 

3. International Congress of Hygiene, Vienna, 1887. 

4. ,, ,, ,, Paris, 1889. 

5. German Educational Union of Prague, 1891. 

6. Royal and Imperial School Board, Bohemia, 1891. 

7. Imperial and Royal Supreme Council of Hygiene, Vienna, 1891. 

8. Seventh International Congress of Hygiene and Demography, 

London, 1891. 

In addition to the above many other Corporations have ap- 
proved of and recommended Vertical Writing as the Lubeck 
Association, previously referred to, The Paris Commission and the 
Buda-Pesth Supreme Council of Education. The Supreme Hun- 
garian School Board in March 1891 prescribed Experimental 
adoption of Vertical Writing by its Schools. 


1. PROFESSOR GLADSTONE : School Board for London. 

2. MR. NOBLE SMITH : Surgeon and Specialist, London. 

3. PROFESSOR DR. JOSEPH HEIM : Chief Physician of the Theresian 

Academy, etc., Vienna. 

4. PROFESSOR DR. E. FUCHS : Ophthalmologist and Specialist, Vienna. 

5. PROFESSOR DR. TOLDT : University Professor of Anatomy, Vienna. 

6. PROFESSOR DR. PAUL SCHUBERT: Oculist and Specialist, Nurem- 


7. PROFESSOR DR. A. VON REUSS : University Professor, Vienna. 

8. PROFESSOR DR J. CSAPODI : University Tutor of Ophthalmology, 



9. PROFESSOR DR. JULIUS DOLLINGER : University Professor and 

Member of National Council, Hungary. 
10. PROFESSOR DR. ALBERT : Commissioner of Health and Specialist on 

Spinal Curvature, Vienna. 
n. PROFESSOR DR. J. VON FODOR : Specialist on Hygiene, Buda-Pesth. 

12. PROFESSOR DR. ALOIS KARPF : Custodian of Library and Royal 

Commission for Entails, Vienna. 

13. PROFESSOR DR. KOTELMANN : Educationist and Editor of Journal 

of School Regimen, Hamburg. 

14. PROFESSOR DR. AXEL HERTEL: Medical Officer, etc., Copenhagen. 

15. PROFESSOR DR. A. LORENZ : University Professor, Vienna. 

16. DR. W. SUPPAN : Director of Academies and Member of National 

Council of Education, Hungary. 

17. DR. MARTIUS: Medical Officer, Ansbach. 

18. DR. GLAUMING : Examiner for the City Schools, Nuremberg. 

19. DR. WEBER : Darmstadt. 

20. DR. LOCHNER : Medical Officer, Schwabach. 

21. DR. G. MERKEL : Medical Officer and President of Medical Council, 

1879, Nuremberg. 

22. DR. W. MAYER : Specialist and Medical Officer, Furth. 

23. DR. O. SOMMER : Brunswick. 

24. DR. A. SCHARFF : Educationist, etc., Plensburg. 

25. DR. GOUBER : Commissioner of Health, etc., Vienna. 

26. DR. E. HANNAK : Principal of the Vienna Training College. 

27. DR. KARL STEJSKAL : Royal Imperial School Inspector, Vienna. 


29. DR. E. BAYR : Headmas'er of City of Vienna Public School. 

30. DR. KARL TOMANETZ : Vienna. 

31. DR. DAIBER : Stuttgart. 

32. DR. KRUG : Dresden. 
&c. &c. &c. 

Dr. Eulenger declared for Vertical Writing in 1885. 

The celebrated oculist Dr. Hermann Cohn after visiting Ver- 
tical Writing Classes at Vienna has declared for the Upright 
System (1892). 


ALOIS FELLNER : Imperial and Royal Inspector, Vienna. 
LAURENZ MAYER : Imperial and Royal Inspector, Vienna. 
FRANZ KLIMA : Imperial and Roynl Inspector, Littan, Moravia. 
L. WIESMANN : Secondary Teacher, Winterthur. 
FRANCIS WAAS : Member of School Board, Vienna. 

NOTE : Since the passage on p. 119 was first written, a change 
has come over the spirit of the scene, and many signs of vitality 
and growing interest have exhibited themselves both amongst 


teachers, the Press, and the Education Department. The last- 
named has made a material advance, and from being antagonistic 
have now declared that "The revisors of Handwriting for the 
" Education Department " (Whitehall) " will place Vertical writing 
" on the same footing with other styles of writing." Through many 
of its representatives (H.M. Inspectors) the Department speaks still 
more decisively in favour of Upright Penmanship. We quote 
from the Blue Books of 1890, 1891, and 1892 : "Vertical Writing 
"appears to be most easily taught, and to be the best for the right 
"physical conditions of the eyesight and the spine" (Rev. T. W. 
Sharpe, M.A., Senior Chief Inspector). 

"Many schools are now adopting the Vertical style of writing. 
" It is said to be easily acquired, and to enable the children to 
"adopt a more upright and -therefore more healthy posture while 
"writing. It has also the merit of clearness and legibility, so 
"that I have no doubt it will spread" (Rev. C. F. Johnstone, 
Chief Inspector). 

"A growing tendency to an Upright rather than a sloping 
"style" (R. Ogilvie, Esq., M.A., LL.D., Chief Inspector). 

" Handwriting has improved, especially in those schools in 
"which the Upright style of writing has been adopted" (F. B. 
de Sausmarez, Esq., H.M.I.). 

Another Chief Inspector says "The writing was about the 
" best I have seen. The boys are taught' the Upright or Jackson's 
" Style." 

Then finally the attitude of the Press has entirely changed ; 
from being cynical, then patronising, it has become appreciative 
and sometimes enthusiastic. There is no doubt whatever that all 
classes of the community are recognising the claims of Upright 
Penmanship more widely every day, and that the lethargy of the 
past is quickly disappearing and giving way to an interest which 
occasionally rises to excitement. 




THE following list may be accepted as fairly representing the 
literature on the subject of Penmanship and Handwriting pub- 
lished during the present century, so far as it affects the question 
of Education. Many small brochures are omitted as their inser- 
tion could serve no good purpose. It will be found that the 
majority of these publications are merely collections of specimens 
of the Engraver's skill, and also of the writer's ingenuity as indicated 
in most intricate and beautiful designs in flourishing and orna- 
mental lettering, and that the remainder are more or less books of 
instructions, hints or directions how to write or how to become a 
good writer, one or two of these containing suggestions on how 
to teach the art. Few could imagine the anomalies and con- 
tradictions with which these manuals abound when compared with 
each other, in regard to every point connected with the science 
and art of penmanship. A somewhat entertaining diversity of 
opinion e.g. on the position of the body may be referred to where 
elbows must be close in to side and not touching the side; 
where the body must be absolutely erect but at the same time 
bending forward : and where it must be able to present the right 
side the left side and the Chest front all simultaneously to the 
front edge of the desk. Rather a difficult feat for an ordinary 
individual we imagine ! 

748 " The Art of Writing " illustrated with eight copper plates. John New- 
bury, London. i6mo. To which is added a collection of letters and 
directions for addressing persons of distinction, etc., with some six 
pages of " General Instructions for young Practitioners in the art of 


*795 " The Penman's Repository." Win. Milns. London. 4to. 36 plates. 
Containing 70 correct alphabets, a valuable selection of flourishes, and 
a variety of new designs. 

iSoi *'The Select Penman." London. 8vo. "Consisting of copious ex 
tracts from all the most excellent performances now in esteem. Being 
alphabets, copies, sentences, etc., in all the Hands carefully digested 
and beautifully engraved on twenty copper plates by the best hands." 

1803 " The Origin and Progress of Writing." Th. Astle. London. Folio. 

A most admirable production, illustrated with valuable and numerous 
plates. The talented author has done his work well, and has written 
a book which for thoroughness, detail, information and originality is 
a standard of reference and a classic on the subject. 

1804 "The Art of Reading, Writing, etc." London. 8vo. A general 

handbook of 44 pages containing miscellaneous hints on " Writing a 
free and expeditious hand which may be attained in a few days." (!) 
Some plates of headlines are inserted. 

1805 " Geographical and Commercial Copies." H. Genery. London". 8vo. 

Twenty -six plates of Copies (chiefly plain) in various sizes of writing, 
with some ornamental alphabets. 

1809 " New Universal Penman. " Butterworth. Edinburgh. Folio. Thirty- 
two large plates of Capitals, Designs, Plain and Ornamental Lettering, 
Writing Copies, and Flourishings. 

iSio "The Desideratum of Penmanship." G. C. Rapier. Leeds. I2mo. 
"The true principles by which to teach the art." Fourteen plates of 
letters (small and capitals) and headlines with seven pages of text 
supplying instructions as to position, etc. 

1814 "Writing on an Improved Plan." London. 8vo. Four pages of 

directions and six plates of exercises. 

1815 "Superior, Free, Elegant, and Swift Writing." G. B. King*. London. 

In six lessons to which is added a System (entirely new) for writing 

exercises. Six piges of text and six plates of specimens. 
1817 "The Preparative Writing Book." J.Dobbin. London. 410. Twelve 

plates of Headlines with lines ruled for writing. (A copy book of 

12 pages.) 
1835 " Autographs " of Celebrated Personages. J. Netherclift. London. Fol. 

Several plates of grouped autographs. 

1839 " Plain and Ornamental Penmanship." F. D. Sutcliffe Warley. Man- 

chester. Fol. Five large plates of designs in plain and ornamental 

1840 " Flowers of Penmanship." W. Paton. London. Folio. Fourteen 

plates illustrative of Ornamental Penmanship and Lettering with 
portrait of Author. No text save preface. 

1842 "Penmanship." H.B.Foster. Boston, U.S. I2mo. 88 pp. Fifty- 
two pages of instructions for positions, analysis of letters, formation of 
Capitals, etc., with thirty-six pages of headlines in red for tracing 

1844 " Beauties of Writing." T. Tomkins. London. Fol. Forty-one 


plates of plain and ornamental writing, Ornamental Lettering, 

Flourishing and intricate designs. 
1849 "A collection of one hundred letters." J. Netherclift. London. Fol. 

This work is interesting on account of the variety in style of tne 

1853 " The Origin and Progress of the Art of Writing." H. N. Humphreys. 

London. 4to. 176 pp. Illustrated by 28 plates and 29 woodcuts. 

The origin of Writing and its history traced through the Mexican, 

Chinese, Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonic and Per ian (Cuneiform), 

Phoenician, Hebrew, Greek and Roman or Latin, to the Modern 

National Styles of Writing in Europe, concluding with an account of 

the writing material of all ages. 
1855 "Ornamental Penmanship." G. J. Becker. Philadelphia. 8vo. 

Thirty-three plates of plain and Ornamental type and Script 

1858 " Writing without a Master." London. 8vo. A preface, four pages 

of remarks on positions, six plates of Headlines in Smallhand (with 

notes) and sixteen blank leaves for exercise are supplied in this 


1858 "Handbook of Autographs." F. G. Netherclift. London. 8vo. A 

most interesting collection of Autographs. 

1859 " The Penman's Manual." New York. 36 pp. A practical Manual 

on Business Handwriting, with rules, numerous illustrations and two 

1860 "The Art of Writing." J. A. Cooper. London. 8vo. Twenty plates 

of small hand graduated copies, preceded by an essay on the Art of 
writing and 5 pages of general directions. 

1862 "Ornamental Writing." H irdy. London. 8vo. Six plates of 
Alphabets, ornamental lettering, and Script. 

1862 " The Commercial Penman." E. A. Porteus. London. 410. A title 
page, twenty-four plates of Commercial letters, and 24 blank leaves 
for exercise. 

1862 " Designs for Illuminated and Ornamental Letters.'"' E. A. Porteus. 
London. i6mo. Four plates of designs for illuminated and orna- 
mental lettering. No text. 

1866 "Autograph Album." J. Philips. London. 4to. This is a very 
valuable selection. 

1873 " The Art of Rapid Writing." W. Stokes. London. 

l %75 "Judging Handwriting." E. Lumley. London. i6mo. 176 pp. The 
art of judging the character of individuals from their Handwriting and 
Style with 35 plates containing 120 specimens of writing. 

1877 " Compendium of Practical Penmanship." Daniel T. Ames. New 
York. 410. Forty-eight beautiful plates of (twenty-four) plain and 
ornamental alphabets, with most intricate designs in flourishing and 
Ornamental Penmanship. 

1879 " The Philosophy of Handwriting." Don Felix de Salamanca. London. 
8vo. An introduction on Writing in general followed by 135 auto- 
graphs of various celebrities with notes on each. 



1880 " Character indicated in Handwriting." Baughan. London. 8vo. 
One hundred Autographs with notes and explanations. 

1880 " Practical Penmanship," or how to acquire a good Handwriting. ^ W. 
D. Prior. London. 8vo. Numerous illustrations, examples, and 
practices. Hints on Position and Desk with a few remarks on Orna- 
mental Writing. 

1882 " Penmanship. ?> C. H. Mitchell. London. 8vo. 38 pp. Introduc- 
tion ; Attitude ; Holding the Pen ; Appendices A to E (plates of 

1886 "Guide to Beautiful Handwriting." J. Barter. London. 8vo. 48pp. 

A series of copies in plain and ornamental writing, each copy being 
preceded by directions, concluding with some specimens of flou'ishing. 

1887 "A Manual of Handwriting." F. Betteridge. Bradford. 410. 55pp. 

" prepared for Junior teachers." A course of 19 lessons with notes ; 
also remarks on Desks, Postures, German Time-writing and Capitals. 
Copiously illustrated. 

1887 "According to Cocker." The progress of Penmanship from the earliest 

times, with upwards of twenty illustrative examples from " Penna 
Volans," and other old works on the subject. By W. Anderson 
Smith. There are nearly 30 pages of text giving the barest outline 
of the progress of Penmanship, and six of those 30 pages deal exclu- 
sively with the incidents of Cocker's career. 

1888 "Writing and How to Teach it." J. C. Sharp, M.A. London. 8vo. 

One hundred short lessons for the guidance of teachers ; diagrams, of 
copies and errors, accompany each lesson. 

1888 "Writing Simplified." Freeman. London. 8vo. Thirty pages of 

plates and some text in which a new longhand alphabet is given, also 
a style of shorthand with observations on parallel symbols of Holy 

1889 "Rapid Writer, Own Instructor." D. Dixon. Preston. 8vo. 40 pp. 

A collection of Alphabets, Headlines and Specimens of flourishing, 
with general hints and instructions. 

1889 " Prize Specimens of Handwriting." London. I2mo. Being the 
four 5 prize specimens and others (thirty-two in all) gaining special 
distinction in the Competition offered by "Tit Bits." It is worthy 
of note that both (and the only) ladies gaining the '5 prizes were 
Vertical Writers. 

1891 " Art of Handwriting and how it should be taught. " Hughes, London. 
A collection of some 14 full-page engravings, and other diagrams, with 
about 32 pages of text. "Specially prepared for the use of pupi) 
teachers and students in training colleges." 



CONTRASTS or specimens of the two styles of caligraphy written (as 
in Fig. 51) by the same persons ; save in Figures 52 and 61. 



.2 * 





d d d 6 












" ON Perpendicular Writing in Schools " A Lecture delivered by Dr. 
Paul Schubert, on the 23rd Oct : 1890 before the Society of Public 
Hygiene at Nuremberg. 

The proposal to replace the customary oblique writing by perpen- 
dicular characters arose from the endeavour to obtain an upright 
healthy writing posture in school-children, an object which hitherto, 
though means of every kind were tried, had never been attained. 
Every teacher knows how much patience and lung-power the constant 
injunctions to sit straight demand, how much time is thereby taken 
away from the proper tasks of instruction, and how nevertheless after 
a short period the children always sink back again into those bodily 
distortions with which we are all so familiar, as if a strong magnet 
were dragging down their heads towards the left side of the copy-book. 

Complaints about this are of very ancient date and are repeated in 
almost every treatise on school hygiene. The worst of it is that every 
child very soon gets accustomed to his own peculiar cramped way of 
sitting, which he always resumes during the many hundred writing 
lessons of his school-life, so that always the same organs are again 
burdened and the same functions hindered. Everyone thinks chiefly 
of the dangers of short-sight and crooked growth ; scarcely less pre- 
judicial is the hindrance to full respiration and the impeding of the 
circulation of the blood in the organs of the lower body, with all their 
consequences, Into the details of which we cannot enter here. 

To two medical authors, Ellinger and Gross, belongs the glory of 
having explicitly pointed out in numerous publications, about 1874 5, 
that the cause of the bad posture of children while writing ought not to 
be looked for as hitherto in external matters, nor should the blame be 
laid on the teacher, but that the ultimate reason for oblique sitting lay 
rather in the way of writing itself ; this latter would have to be entirely 
revolutionised, and in particular a copy-book pushed sideways towards 
the right must not be tolerated in the case of any child ; for herein 
lay the root of the worst distortions of eye, head, and trunk. In the 
positive part of their labours, however, Ellinger and Gross were 
neither in agreement with one another, nor did their views coincide 
with what we to-day believe should be pronounced the solution of the 

At first Ellinger demanded oblique writing on a copy-book lying 
obliquely before the middle of the body ; but in the year 1885 ne 
joined the Middle Franconia Reform Movement and professed the 


conviction that Vertical Writing in straight middle position is the 
only correct one. 

Gross on the other hand desired perpendicular writing, but, 
strangely enough, at the same time a slightly oblique position of the 
copy-book. This is, as I hope to make clear further on, an internal 
contradiction which the first practical experiments in writing must 
have rendered obvious. Nevertheless it was the very fresh and stir- 
ring pamphlet of Gross that directed the attention of a wide circle to 
the need of a writing-reform, and thereby gave the impulse to all sub- 
sequent efforts. Thus it came about that Dr. Martins, District 
Medical Adviser, discussed the proposals of Gross in the Medical 
District Union at Ansbach, and carried a motion in the Middle 
Franconia Medical Council, to the effect that the Government should, 
through the official organs, have data collected as to the possible 
dangers of oblique writing. Simultaneously a critique by Mr. 
Methsieder, District School Inspector, was produced, which strongly 
advocated perpendicular writing. At the same sitting of the Medical 
Council in 1879, the president Dr. Merkel, Medical Adviser, also 
declared very decidedly in favour of Vertical Writing, which he him- 
self had been exclusively using for many years. 

Without going into details on the labours and counter-currents of 
the next ten years, I will now try to explain our present knowledge of 
the physiology of writing, and, in connection therewith, give an account 
of the results of the experiments with perpendicular writing in separate 
school-classes in Central Franconia, Flensburg and Vienna. In the 
question before us the direction of the clown-stroke as regards the 
line of writing is the principal point ; everything else depends on this. 
Downstrokes are formed by simple bending of the three writing- 
fingers, with the assistance at the same time of a slight bending at the 
wrist. In the upstroke the fingers by extension return again to their 
original position, while simultaneously the point of the pen is, by 
movement of hand or arm, pushed away a little towards the right. 
The first consideration, then, that forces itself upon us is : What 
direction of down-stroke is unconstrained and natural, and best suits 
the organs concerned in writing ? 

The following experiment will show. 

Assume a straight symmetrical posture of body, lay a sheet of 
paper in the mMdle before you and place your hand ready for writing 
on it, leaving ihe hand however still in its position of rest withcut any 
sort of muscuiar tension. It will be seen that the palm of the hand is 
then not turned downwards towards the paper, as many ancient and 
modern writing-rules wrongly require, but that it stands perpendicular 
to the surface of the desk, and the whole hand lies exactly in the 


direction of the extended lower arm. The plane formed by the fore- 
finger and thuiiib has a very slight inclination to the left, the fourth 
and fifth fingers are moderately bent, and the hand rests on the nail- 
joint of the latter. 

This posture of hand secures to the fingers that hold the pen the 
greatest freedom of movement for up- and down-strokes. If now you 
close your eyes and, without turning or twisting the hand, blindly 
make a few movements and extensions of the three fingers that hold 
the pen, the strokes produced will be directed pretty exactly towards 
the middle of the body and at the same time stand perpendicular to 
the edge of the desk, supposing that the point of the writing pen is 
exactly in the middle, in front of the writer. The direction of these 
strokes, with regard both to the edge of the desk and to the breast, 
will of course remain exactly the same, if, other conditions being kept 
unchanged, the paper lies at one time oblique, at another straight 
before the middle of the body. Only their position relative to the 
edges of the sheet and to the line will change. They will stand per- 
pendicular to the latter if the sheet lies straight, they will stand 
obliquely on it if the sheet is placed obliquely. If, however, you push 
the paper and the blindly writing hand away towards the right, and 
are careful that in this position the, action described above is main- 
tained and the writing-motion completed without constraint by the 
bending and extension of the three fingers, then the down-strokes 
though directed as before towards the middle of the writer, will at the 
same time stand obliquely to the edge of the desk. Their inclination 
to the line will obviously here too be entirely dependent on the turn- 
ing of the paper. 

From this preliminary experiment the rule seems to follow that in 
writing, as well in middle position as in right position of the copy- 
book left positions do not conceivably occur in right-handed writing , 
it is always those down-strokes which are directed towards the breast of 
the writer that flow most easily from the pen. At the same time the 
possibility of producing other directions of the down-strokes by 
violent twistings of the hand is not to be denied, but, as the experi- 
ments described above seem to teach us, only such down-strokes as 
fall on the line of connection between pen-point and breast-bone 
are executed in accordance with the laws of hand-motion and 
without constraint. 

Let us now see whether these personal observations are confirmed 
when we let others write, without influencing them at all, in any 
position of body and copy-book they please. In boys from eight to 
twelve years of age I measured in 1,586 cases the direction of the 
down-strokes in regard to the body, and found that with those who 


had their copy-book p'accd in the middle before them only slight 
deviations towards the right took place, amounting to 10, in rare 
cases to 15, and on the other hand also quite inconsiderable devia- 
tions towards the left, amounting to 5, but that the average direction 
was with tolerable exactness straight towards the middle of the 

This rule was found to be still more absolute in the case of those 
children who in writing had pushed their copy-book strongly towards 
the right ; here almost in all cases the down-stroke coincided with a 
line drawn towards the breast. If the above observation really attains 
the importance of embodying a regular relation, then this must declare 
itself in the direction of the different down-strokes of every long line. 
Since in the course of such a line the position of the pen-point moves 
considerably towards the right, it is to be expected, presupposing the 
correctness of that observation, that the first and last down-strokes 
are not parallel but converge downwards, that is, towards the breast 
of the writer. Indeed, I was able to demonstrate such a relation in 
pupils' handwritings in a >out 90 per cent, of the cases. That it was 
not always to be found is sufficiently explained by the care taken to 
give the down-strokes the same direction. It would now be in place 
to explain the regularity which has been discovered in the direction 
of the down-stroke from the anatomy and capability of movement of 
the writing-joints, a task to whose solution Dr. William Mayer of 
Fiirth has devoted himself. 

The danger of remaining incomprehensible to persons who are not 
medical men, however, makes me renounce this attempt. From the 
law (which has since been recognised by all writers on the Vertical 
Style) that in unconstrained writing all down-strokes are directed 
towards the breast-bone, the relations which prevail between the 
direction of the writing and the different positions of the copy-book 
follow quite naturally. If the copy-book during writing is before the 
middle of the body, we have to distinguish whether it lies straight, so 
that its edges are directed parallel to those of the desk, or the side 
edges of the copy-book run up obliquely from left to right. The 
former is called the straight middle position, in which only and solely 
perpendicular strokes can be produced : the latter, on the other 
hand, is known as oblique middle position, in which the downstrokes 
must stand obliquely as regards the line at about the same angle as 
that which the copy-book edges form with the corresponding edges of 
the desk. 

Further it is quite evident that if the copy-book lies to the right, 
whether it be straight or turned in the way just explained, the down- 
strokes must stand obliquely on the line. All right-posit ions 



therefore, are inseparably connected with sloping writing". At this 
point let us once more sum up : in straight middle position only 
Vertical Writing can be written, and, vice versa, Vertical Writing only 
in straight middle position. Sloping writing, on the other hand, can be 
produced equally well in oblique middle position and in straight and 
oblique right position. It will now have to be examined which of 
these positions of the copy-book is hygienically the best, and along 
with this decision judgment will also be passed as to whether the 
sloping writing, hitherto customary, is without injury for the school- 
child, or whether it is in this respect inferior to Vertical Writing. At 
the outset, then, both the right positions must be struck out of the 
competition ; they are, according to the unanimous verdict of all 
experts, inseparably connected with dangers to the bodily develop- 
ment of the child, and ought as soon as possible to be most strictly 
forbidden in our schools. 

The Spinal Column suffers in this position of the copy-book a 
twist to the right and at the same time an arched bend towards the 
left, and with many children there is developed, as William Meyer 
and Schenk have proved, from this faulty way of sitting at the 
writing, permanent spinal curvatures with elevation of the left 
shoulder. Further, with this posture the two eyes approach unduly 
near the writing, so that the production of short-sight is favoured. 
The right eye in particular is injured by greater nearness to the 
writing, stronger extension of the external muscles and increased 
internal strain (see Fig. 25, p. 87). It was against the obvious incon- 
veniences inseparably connected with every right-position that Ellinger 
and Gross opened the fight, and since then in all the strife of opinions 
not one even among ihe warmest friends of Sloping Writing has been 
found capable of defending this way of writing. 

The right position having thus disappeared, as completely imprac- 
ticable, from the sphere of our further deliberations, it is to be hoped 
that in the not far distant future it will finally disappear from school 
teaching also, we shall now have to occupy ourselves in greater detail 
with estimating the rival merits of the two ways of writing still left, 
Perpendicular Writing in straight middle position and Sloping Writing 
in oblique middle position. That in both positions of the copy-book the 
downstrokes are directed towards the middle of the breast and stand 
perpendicular to the edge of the desk has already been proved ; the 
difference therefore lies only in the way the paper is placed under the 
writing-hand. Since in straight middle position the edges of the copy- 
book are parallel to those of the desk, the down-strokes will come to 
stand perpendicularly in the copy-book too ; if the page is twisted, 
then the down-strokes, whose direction is not twisted, receive an 


oblique position as regards the lower edge of the copy-book and the 

So it is on the course of the lines that the whole difference (which, 
however, is not to be underestimated) of the two positions of the copy- 
book rests, and a contest has for years been going on between the 
defenders and opponents of Sloping Writing with regard to the in- 
fluence which the direction of the line exercises on the bodily posture 
of children. 

Let us first of all consider the action of the eye in this respect. 
Berlin and Rembold maintained that for our organ of sight it was of 
no importance whether the line ran parallel to the edge of the desk, 
or rose obliquely up from left to right ; for though the eye in the 
course of the writing followed each single down-stroke, yet it did not 
follow the line. It was an easy matter to prove the contrary. In 
children at the age of from 8-12 years I found the movement of the 
eyes in the course of a line to amount on the average to 13, and 
movement was hardly ever absent. 

This oblique movement of the eyes up from left to right, however 
simple it may seem to the layman, is for ophthalmological reasons 
which cannot be stated in detail here, but are estimated at their full 
value by all specialists by no means a matter of indifference for the 
eye in the long run, having as its result a left inclination of the head 
with deepening of the position of the left eye. This was very plainly 
evident in measurements of the posture of the head assumed by children 
writing in oblique middle position ; the left inclination of the head 
amounted, in the preponderating majority, to about 10, sometimes 
even to from 20 to 30 ; in straight middle position of the copy-book 
the posture was far better ; William Mayer, who repeated my 
measurements on the school children of Fiirth, has also confirmed this 

If now on the one side we have reason, with respect to the eye, to 
prefer straight middle position and Vertical Writing, on the other it 
was urged by the friends of Sloping Writing, that the obliquely rising 
line in oblique middle position was more comfortable for the hand to 
write than the horizontal one running parallel to the lower edge of the 
desk. The former could be written by simple turning of the arm 
round its point of support on the edge of the desk, whereas the latter 
required a repeated pushing of the arm towards the right in the course 
of every line. This offended so Berlin in particular declared 
against the laws of movement of the hand, and on that ground Per- 
pendicular Writing with its direction of the line was "unphysiological," 
that is, contrary to nature. 

Let us briefly examine these views. A more frequent movement 



of the arm is indeed requisite in Vertical Writing, but nothing un- 
physiological can be discovered in this fact. Otherwise we should 
have to suppose that in all the Middle Ages, which, as is well known, 
knew only perpendicular characters, or characters inclined at the most 
10 to 15 to the right, violence was done to the wrist in the writing of 
every line for what reason no one understands and yet throughout 
those many centuries not a single person among millions of writers 
observed that this way of writing was uncomfortable, nay unnatural, and 
that the laws of movement of the hand demanded Sloping Writing with 
oblique direction of the line. In all the antique representations hitherto 
accessible to me of monks, women, and children in the act of writing 
the straight middle-position is without exception to be seen (see Figs. I 
and 2). To venture to describe such time-honoured customs as contrary 
to nature is really to depreciate the inventive faculty of our ancestors. 
At the same time it is by no means to be denied that in very quick 
writing, to which particular callings at the piesent day see themselves 
forced, Sloping Writing with oblique position of the paper is requisite ; 
indeed 1 even think that in the growing need for rapidity of writing 
lies the cause of the predominance which within the last two centuries 
Sloping Writing has been gradually acquiring. The excessive right- 
inclination of the down-strokes, amounting to 45, which to the detri- 
ment of the clearness and legibility of our handwritings has only in 
recent times become customary, must in any case be described as an 
error which nothing justified, not even haste and hurry. To attain the 
objects of quick writing a slightly oblique position of about 20 would 
abundantly suffice. But it seems to me in no way justifiable to use the 
oblique style in elementary teaching ; it offers no advantage at all except 
in writing at headlong speed, and is therefore entirely unnecessary for 
the great majority of children not only at school but also throughout 
life. Moderately rapid writing, as school experiments to be mentioned 
later have shown, is quite compatible with perpendicular characters 
(see p. 122, also p. 153). 

If sloping writing with oblique middle-position of the copy-book 
involved slight left-inclination of the head only, then a serious objec- 
tion could scarcely be raised against this way of writing ; every side- 
inclination of the head, however, has as its result, on statistical grounds, 
a compensatory twist of the spinal column, whose far reaching effect 
cannot be underestimated if we take into account the many hours 
which in the course of the whole school-time are spent in writing. 
The principal danger lies in the fact that there are no means of keep- 
ing children who write the sloping style fixed in middle position with 
moderately oblique position of the copy-book ; even under the eyes of 
the teacher, and still more in writing without expert oversight, there 


appears almost m all scholars a nearly irresistible mania for turning 
and pushing the copy-book, till the body is twisted in a dangerous 
way and assumes a posture which seems incredible when seen before 
one fixed in a photograph. Some chi'dren carry the turning of the 
copy-book too far, the direction of the lines becomes uncomfortable 
for the arm in the normal posture of writing, the right elbow is pushed 
on to the desk, the right shoulder foil nvs, moves forward and rises, 
the body supports itself with the right side against the writing desk, 
the spinal column is turned towards the left about its axis of length 
and shows an arched curve towards the right, while the left arm en- 
tirely slips down from the desk, on which only the fingers of the left 
hand still find a sorry support. Others, and indeed the majority of 
children, fall into the opposite fault, the copy-book is placed only 
slightly oblique, and therefore pushed so much the further towards the 
right, while the bodily distortions characteristic of right positions now 
show themselves. 

This, then, is the most serious hygienic disadvantage of Sloping 
Writing, and there is absolutely no way of obviating it, that it 
allows the children to abandon the oblique middle position recom- 
mended by Berlin, with moderate turning of the copy-book of 3O-4O, 
in which the posture, though worse than in Vertical Writing, is at any 
rate tolerable, and to assume middle positions in which the copy-book 
is turned through much too great an angle, together with any degree 
of right position they choose, with all conceivable bodily distortions. 
Perpendicular Writing, on the other hand, can only be produced in 
straight middle-position, and so gives a guarantee that the children 
will be preserved in the preparation of their home-lessons also from 
the bad cramped postures which threaten health in so many ways. 
The Hygiene of the home-work forms an exceedingly important 
section of school organization, but lies, in the nature of the case, to a 
great extent beyond our influence. 

We are deprived of the possibility of securing for the child in its 
parents' house, good light, a writing-desk suited to its stature, and a 
well-ventilated room ; and all that school hygiene has up to the present 
been able to do in favour of the home-lessons has been limited, 
besides quantative restriction of them, to the improvement of the 
printing. We ought to gladly and vigorously take hold of the new 
and exceedingly important handle which Vertical Writing offers for 
hygienic regulation of the writing-posture in the parent's house ; in it 
I see by far the most essential advantage of Perpendicular Writing. 

Though Sloping Writing be encompassed with well-intentioned 
and carefully thought out regulations as to the position of the copy- 
book and the posture in writing which must be maintained, it will 


never be possible- to" attain a certainty or even any probability that 
the children \vi 1 remember these precepts when writing without 
supervision. Slopirg Writing, aoid this is its fundamental fault, can 
be written in many different posture?, and by preference in the most 
distorted of all ;. Vertical. Writing, however, possesses a kind of auto- 
matic- steering, apparatus, whereby it avoids bad sitting during writing. 

Let what has been said suffice to indicate the scientific basis of 
the writing reform in its : main points. At the present day, after we 
have accumulated several years' practical experience in schools with 
regar^l to Vertical Writing, detailed investigation of many of the 
more Difficult divisions of the preliminary inquiry may well be 
"omitted ; especially it seems to me unnecessary in this place once 
more to enter into details on the alleged law formulated by Berlin of 
the rectangular intersection of downstroke and eye-base line, since 
I venture to consider it contradicted by numerous measurements of 
my own which were confirmed by Schenk, Daiber, and Ausderan,. 
and since besides it has no bearing whatever on the practical solution 
of the question. In our writing-reform, as in .all the departments of 
Hygiene, no matter how thoroughly theory may have prepared the 
way, the decisive word is always to be looked for only from the test 
of practice. The eailiest experiments in schools were undertaken in 
Middle Franconia, the ciadle of the Vertical Writing question in its 
present form ; individual teachers of Fiirth and Schwabach have now 
been practising Vertical Writing for three years, those of Nuremberg 
for two years, and what those men say, who have not employed 
Vertical Writing only cursorily and superficially for a few weeks, 
but have used it exclusively in their classes throughout the full school- 
year from the first stroke on the slate to copy-book writing, what 
judgment these competent critics give, in this lies the decision with 
regard to Vertical Writing as a school writing. The teachers of our 
district know that these tests have turned out exceedingly favour- 

Written reports trom the gentlemen at Fiirth and Schwabach, as 
well as the lecture of Herr Wunderlich at the last Nuremberg District 
Teachers' Conference* allow me to cut short my account of the pro- 
ceedings at home, and the more so as the results obtained here 
coincide in all essential points with those collected abroad. There is 
only one thing I should like to mention, that my photographs of 
children writing vertically and obliquely, which caused some. sensation 
here as well as in Munich, show better than many words the 
difference in the posture of body. The objection raised from many 
sides that an attentive teacher would not allow such awkwardness 
even with Sloping Writing, rests on a complete misapprehension of 


the object of these photographs. They ought by no means' to raise a 
complaint against the teacher of the obliquely-writing children ; I am 
convinced that he'at sight of such a bad posture at once interposes 
with severe reproof, that he does this incessantly every day from 
year's end to year's end, and is forced to do it' because the children, 
not by his fault, but through the fault of the oblique writing, after a 
few minutes always wrinkle up again like moistened pasteboard. 
What the photographs ought to teach is, that the teachers in 
obliquely writing classes perform a labour like that of Sisyphus when : 
they try to train the children to sit erect,' : that the little ones only pull 
themselves up by fits and starts in consequence of the command, and' 
almost only during the time it lasts, and that in the home-lessons a' 
picture such as that represented presents itself without any resistance.' 
We must really also confess to ourselves, quite in confidence, that' 
even in the school, when the teacher does not constantly preach " sit' 
straight," when, following his principal task, he buries himself in the 
subject he is teaching, often enough the photographic pictures present' 
themselves. In the taking of them neither the children who wrote 
vertically nor those who wrote-obliquely were commanded to sit up- 
right, in order that the conditions might resemble as much as possible 
those that exist in the daily horne-lessons. That the posture of the 
former, therefore, is incomparably better, is obvious from the photo- 

It is a matter for congratulation that the theoretical treatises on 
Vertical Writing issuing from Middle Franconia have been tested also 
in other parts of Germany and caused practical experiments in many 

According to informatioryeceived by letter from Principal ScharrF 
at Flensburg, in May 1889 the Prussian Government of Schleswig- 
Holstein issued through the district School- inspectorate a circular in 
which it was required that in writing the -angle of elevation of the 
characters should amount to not less than 70. By this enactment the 
authorities in Schleswig seem desirous of finally doing away with the' 
excessive obliquity of 45 which has hitherto been generally demanded. 
At ScharfPs suggestion the teachers of Flensburg went a step further' 
still, and after the above-named teacher had first had one class ' 
writing vertically since December 1 888, in June 1889 introduced 
Perpendicular Writing into most of the public schools. At the close'- 
of the school year ScharfT declared in a lecture that the bodily posture } 
in Perpendicular Writing is an unconstrained one, does not hinder ^ 
the writing-activity, and is employed by the scholars in their borne- J 
lessons also. Perpendicular Writing, he said, by its superior clearness 
most perfectly accomplishes the object of writing, and is easiest to- 


learn, since the child brings the idea of the perpendicular direction 
with him into the school, and since this idea can here at any time 
be easily rectified by reference to perpend cular walls, doors, etc., 
which is not the case with any other angle of elevation. 

In a writing competition which Scharff instituted between his 
scholars and those of an equally high class in another school, it was 
found that at least as great rapidity was attained with Perdendicular 
Writing as with sloping. His best scholar required twenty-four 
minutes to copy a poem, the best among the rivals thirty minutes. 

In December 1889 the " Schleswig-Holstein School News" con- 
tained the following intelligence from Flensburg : " The enactment of 
" the Imperial Government, concerning the less oblique position of 
" the letters in writing, has led to an experiment being made here with 
" Perpendicular Writing, the results of which up to the present may 
" be described as favourable almost beyond expectation." 

Vertical Writing has attained prominent importance in Vienna, 
where Principal Emmanuel Bayr has adopted it with great success. 
His first experiments began in April 1889, with from three to four 
children in each of the five lower classes, while the others wrote in 
oblique middle-position, in which the prescribed angle of inclination 
of the head was marked on the writing-desk. 

Afterwards, in the District Teachers' Coherence of the sixth 
Vienna Communal District, Bayr delivered a lecture on the result of 
his experiments, in which he very decidedly advocated Vertical 
Writing, relying on a critique by Herr Toldt, Prof, of Anatomy, which 
appeared in print in Bayr's pamphlet entitled " The Vertical Roman 
Style of Writing," and contains a critical sifting of the reasons 
adduced by authors for and against Perpendicular Writing, with the 
result that Vertical Writing is given the preference on account of its 
favourable influence on an erect posture of body. Bayr as well as 
Toldt, and with them the whole subsequent reform-movement in 
Vienna, put forward at the same time the demand that the so-called 
German Current Hand should be abandoned and be replaced by the 
Roman character. The Middle Franconia Medical Council, as is 
well-known, has thought it more desirable not to connect the question 
of the Roman character with that of Vertical Writing. 

In the autumn of 1889 Bayr began to employ Vertical Writing to 
a greater extent in the public school of five classes which is under his 
control. Both parallel courses of the first school-year, and also one 
parallel course of the second class, wrote vertically, while the other 
course wrote obliquely in oblique middle-position (according to 
Berlin) as hitherto ; similarly in the third class. In the fourth and 
fifth class individual scholars wrote perpendicularly, the others 


obliquely in oblique middle-position. Principal Mock, too, began 
with Vertical Writing in the first class of his public school, as also 
some first classes in the ninth district. At Bayr's request these 
experimental classes were repeatedly visited during the past school 
year by the most prominent educationalists of Vienna, as well as by 
medical authorities, who, according to intelligence received by letter 
from Bayr, all without exception were convinced of the hygienic 
superiority of Vertical Writing and have since then for the most part 
themselves actively led the way in favour of Vertical Writing. For 
example, on the 9th of April a commission, consisting of the District 
School Inspector Herr Fellner, Principal George Ernst, and several 
teachers, inspected Bayr's schools ; in the fifth class the vertically 
writing children were required to place their copy-book obliquely and 
to write obliquely : " The children now wrote obliquely, and their 
" fine posture vanished ; they sat badly ; nothing more was to be 
" seen of a straight bodily posture. But when ordered to place their 
" copy-book straight again and to write vertically, they sat as straight 
"as a rush." On the iQth of April Prof. Fuchs, the Vienna 
ophthalmologist, spent two hours in Bayr's school. In the first verti- 
cally writing class he found a model posture and clear writing. In 
the case of one child the eyes were found to be 32 c.m. distant 
from the writing. In the other cases no measurement was made, 
because it was seen that the distance was approximately the same. 
In the obliquely-writing course of the second school-year Prof. Fuchs 
found, in spite of the fact that oblique middle-position was enjoined, 
some children writing with straight right-position. The governess, on 
being questioned, explained that the children always abandoned the 
oblique position in spite of admonitions. 

"Prof. Fuchs now observed the chi'dien who had their copy- 
" book placed in the way required by Berlin and Remboldt. These 
" children sat badly, like the rest." In the fifth class some wrote 
vertically, others obliquely. ..." Of those who wrote vertically only 
" one out of about twenty sat badly, of the obliquely- writing children 
" the majority. . . . At his request the children were colectively asked 
" before the writing to sit straight, but only the vertically writing suc- 
" ceeded in this." . . . "The following direction was now given to the 
" children : ' All write as quickly as you possibly can.' . . . The 
" vertically-writing were ready simultaneously with the obliquely- 
" writing children, and no difference as regards rapidity was apparent." 
Prof. Fuchs found that the perpendicular writing was clearer than 
tne oblique. One vertically-writing female pupil attracted his atten- 
tion by her bad way of sitting ; it turned out that the child had only 
been writing vertically for three days. The results in the other classes 


were similar. Prof. Fuchs has meanwhile published in the " New 
Free Press" (morning edition, 2oth May, 5th year) an article in favour 
of Vertical Writing, in which among other things he says that the 
expectation that Sloping Writing in oblique middle position must 
allow an equally good bodily posture as Vertical Writing in straight 
middle-position has not been fulfilled. " Theoretically the two ways 
" of writing should be almost equivalent, and both ought to be capable 
"of being produced with equal ease in the correct posture of body. 

" But all theory is vague ; of this our recent school-visit ought to 
"'have convinced us." 

The Middle Franconia Medical Council is well acquainted with the 
fact that the author as early as 1880 had declared the oblique middle- 
position incompatible in the long run with an erect posture in sitting, 
on theoretical grounds, and on account of the necessity of pursuing 
the obliquely rising line with the eye. On the loth of May Bayr re- 
ceived a visit from Max Gruber, Professor of Hygiene, who delivered 
a ccture at the next sitting of the Supreme Council of Health on the 
very favourable impression which the posture in Vertical Writing 
made upon him, and moved that a commission be entrusted with the 
testing of Vertical Writing. 

Accordingly Herr Albert, Court Councillor, Professor Gruber, and 
Dr. von Wiedersperg from the Supreme Council of Health, and also 
Pr.f. E. Fuchs, Prof, von Reuss and Prof. Lorenz were named extra- 
oidinary members of this commission, which then on the 4th of June, 
vi h the accession of Dr. Immanuel Kusy, Ministerial Councillor and 
Sn-iitary Adviser in the Ministry of the Interior, inspected the verti- 
cal'y-writing children in Bayr's school and expressed themselves in 
terms of praise. Meanwhile, however, as the "Journal of Education 
and Instruction" (No. 8, 2nd year) informs us, Herr Albert, Court 
Councillor, has already in his lectures declared for Vertical Writing. 

In July, Vertical Writing with the Roman character stood on 
the order of the day of the tenth Vienna District Teachers' Confer- 

The speakers had all taken an opportunity either of testing Vertical 
Writing themselves in their own classes or of studying it with Bayr. 
Theses were heard at all the conferences in favour of Vertical Writing } 
and were accepted, with exception of the tenth district, where the 
thesis on Vertical Writing was defeated by 66 votes against 62. 

Finally a few more reports received by letter on Bayr's vertically- 
writing classes may be mentioned. Principal Bayr says with regard 
to the experiments in the fifth class, part of which writes perpendicularly} 
part obliquely (with oblique middle-position) : " The governess lays 
" great stress on the erect nosture of the children." 


At the beginning the children all sit straight. To the specialist, 
however, even at the outset, the straight posture of the vertically- 
writing children is remarkable ; th'e others lose this fine erect posture 
at the first stroke which they make obliquely. After the lapse of three 
minutes the sloping writers will fall together (collapse). After ten 
minutes they assume the most peculiar posture, after a quarter of an 
hour their head is scarcely 12 to I4c.m. distant. The vertically- 
writing children remain sitting straight during the whole writing lesson, 
and in as good a posture as at the beginning. Usually after four to 
five minutes the stranger can distinguish all those who wrote vertically 
from behind without having seen the writing. Dr. Aloys Karpf, 
Custodian of the Imperial and Royal Trust Commission Library, 
writes : "To-day I had an opportunity, along with Principal Francis 
" Zdarsky and Teacher H. Saik, of observing the progress in this way 
" of writing among the children in several classes of Principal Immanuel 
" Bayr's school. It was observed that the posture of the children, on 
" each of the many times they set themselves to write, was, with 
" astonishingly few exceptions, a model one. The advantage of the 
" endeavour to attain such a posture cannot, from the standpoint oi 
" school hygiene, be sufficiently often emphasised. Attempts to make 
" the children write rapidly in this way succeeded to the particular 
" satisfaction of Principal Zdarsky, who attached special importance 
" to this point. To judge by the experiments, especially in the first 
* class, I am disposed to adopt the psychologically explicable assump- 
" tion that more pleasing forms are more quickly attained with those 
" children who begin at once with Vertical Writing than with those 
" who are urged to Vertical Writing only when already practised in 
" the sloping writing." 

Caroline Seidl, city governess, who teaches under Bayr in the fifth 
writing class (mixed) reports : " The female pupils of the fifth class 
" were introduced to Vertical Writing only at the beginning of the 
"school year 1889-1890. The transition from the Sloping Writing 
" practised during four years to Vertical Writing involved not the least 
" difficulty for the children in respect to the posture of body, hold- 
" ing of pen, or technical execution. It was also an easy thing for 
" them on command to pass from Vertical Writing at once back again 
" to Sloping Writing. . . . 

"... All the children who were introduced to Vertical Writing 
"afforded, in respect to faultless sitting and caligraphy, thoroughly 
" satisfactory and frequently even surprising results. ... On com- 
" paring the writing of a copy-book in which the writing was first 
" sloping and later vertical, one could perceive with satisfaction how 
" much prettier and more regular an impression was made* on the be- 


"holder by the Vertical Writing as contrasted with the Sloping 
" Writing. What a salutary tranquil look a vertically writing class 
" keeps, what a restless spirit prevails among a number of obliquely 
"writing scholars with the constant change of the posture of the body 
" and position of the copy-book which can never be completely kept 
" in check even with the most attentive supervision. This year I have 
" made repeated experiments in regard to the point just mentioned, 
" with the female scholars of the fifth class. In respect to rapidity of 
" execution, too, I have not been able to find any kind of hindrance 
" in the use of Vertical Writing ; there were, indeed, many sloping 
" writers who could not follow the vertical writers. When compared 
" these rapid writings show a great difference in respect to their clcar- 
" ness and legibility, which decided in favour of Vertical Writing." 

From the remaining parts of Austria also come reports as to the 
growing interest in the question of Vertical Writing, which am ng 
Others has been discussed at the District Teachers' Conferences of 
Schwanenstadt in Austria, of Egydi-Tunnel in Styria, and of Salzburg. 

The educational literature of Austria is much occupied with Vertical 
Writing ; see for example Rieger's " Journal for the Austrian Public 
School System," 1890, Nos. 8 and n. "The Public School," 3cth 
year, Nos. 24 and 26. " The Lower Austria School News," 3rd year, 
No. 22. "The Journal of Education and Instruction," 4th year, No. 8. 
In Buda-Pesth, Prof. Joseph Fador advocates the introduction of 
Vertical Writing. In Hamburg also on the initiative of Dr. Kotel- 
mann Vertical Writing was experimentally introduced into a higher 
girls'-school. In Antwerp Vertical Writing is recommended by Dr. 
Mayer, school doctor (" The Female Teachers' Guardian," ist year 
No. 6, p. 13). For a series of years Dierckx' writing has been prac- 
tised in Brussels ; though not quite perpendicu'ar, it is at any rate 
steep and only inclined about 15 towards the right. With it the 
children maintain a hygienic posture, as has been recently boasted 
again by Dr. von Sallwurck, Member of the Council of Education 
("Journal of School Hyiene," 1890, No. I, p. 56). In France, as was 
evident at the International Congress of Hygiene in Vienna 1887 and 
in Paris 1889, there prevails the most gratifying unanimity on the part 
of all the authorities of public hygiene in favour of Vertical Writing. 

With gratifying unanimity the experiments made in the most 
diverse parts of Germany show that Vertical W 7 riting quite materially 
improves the posture of the children, that it allows the degree of 
rapidity required in the school and quite sufficient for the preponde- 
rating majority of callings, is in case of need easy to convert into 
Sloping Writing, surpasses the latter in clearness and offers besides 
many kin^s of educational advantages. 


It is my firm conviction that Vertical Writing when generally in* 
troduced does not burden the teachers, as many believe, with a new 
and difficult work, but on the contrary quite materially lightens for 
them the very heavy and rather thankless labour of constant exhorta* 
tions to a better bodily posture, and gains them time and strength for 
working at their principal task, education and instruction. I trust that 
a not too distant future will confirm this prophecy. 


MR. ADAMS FROST examined a Board School in London and found 
therein among 267 scholars, 73, or 27-3 per cent, with sub-normal 

The (Philadelphia) Report explains that while some of .the classes 
in the primary and secondary schools had had hygienic surroundings 
and in the grammar schools the arrangements were not of the best, 
in the normal schools the greatest possible care had been given to the 
lighting and seating of the classrooms with the result of making them 
as nearly perfect as possible in the present state of our knowledge of 
the requirements. Yet in spite of this and of the fact that the pupils 
were much older and therefore less susceptible to unfavourable circum- 
stances " The showing for myopic eyes was almost as bad as in 
" the lower schools." 

(R. Brudenell Carter F.R.C.S., Ophthalmic Surgeon to St. George's 
Hospital Medical Times and Gazette, April 25 and May 2, 1885.) 

Shortsightedness is developed almost exclusively during School- 
life ; rarely afterwards and very rarely before that time. Is this coin- 
cidence of time accidental ? i.e. does the shortsightedness arise at the 
period about which children go to school ? or has school-life caused 
the shortsightedness ? Statistical enquiries prove the latter to be the 

The well-known orthopaedic surgeon Eulenburg also states that 
90 per cent of curvatures of the spine which do not arise from a special 
disease are developed during school-life. 

These statements have particularly struck me as coinciding exactly 
with the period of the development of shortsightedness and I have 
paid the more attention to this relation between spinal curvature and 
shortsightedness as they seem to form a circulus vitiosus in so far as 
shortsightedness produces spinal curvature, and curvature favours 


The frequency of the so-called scoliosis or lateral curvature of the 
spine has its principal origin in the position in which the children sit 
during their school time especially while writing. 

But what now is the normal posture ? The upper part of the body 
is to be kept straight, the vertebral column neither twisted to the right 
nor to the left ; the shoulder-blades both of the same height, are, 
together with the upper arm, freely suspended on the ribs, and in no 
way supporting the body ; both elbows on a level with each other and 
almost perpendicular under the shoulder-joint without any support ; 
only the hands and part of the forearms resting on the table ; the 
weight of the head freely balanced on the vertebral column and not 
on any account bent forward, but only turned so much round its hori- 
zontal axis, that the face is inclined sufficiently to prevent the angle at 
which the eye is fixed on the book from being too pointed. 

(Dr. R. Leibrich, Consulting Ophthalmic Surgeon to St. Thomas 1 

The twisted and curved position of the spine caused by writing is 
doubtless a very potent factor in the production of Lateral Curvature. 
The more slanting the writing the worse the position, and I would 
strongly advise that upright writing be universally substituted for the 
slanting (p. 73). 

The posture necessitated by ordinary writing is probably that which 
causes more harm to the spine than any other, but the system of up- 
right writing so ably advocated by Mr. Jackson is calculated to reduce 
this harm to a minimum. I have referred to this subject in another 
part of this volume but I take this opportunity of advising the reader 
to obtain Mr. Jackson's publications upon this system of upright writing 
with which I have become acquainted only since urging the advan- 
tages of substituting upright for slanting writing in the Second Edition 
of this book. 

(Curvatures of the Spine by Noble Smith, F.R.C.S. Ed., L.R.C.P. 
Lond., &c. Third Edition, pp. 73 and 108.) 



ACTIOLOGY of scoliose, 86 
Alphabet, written, small letters, 95 

capital letters, 96 

Ancient and mediaeval writing, 112 
Angles of slope in copy books, 26 
Argument against use of slates, 76 

BAGINSKY, Dr. , on Spinal Curvature, 


Belgian cabinet edict, 27 
Blackboard, criticism of, 107-8 
writing, 57, 61, 107, 108 
Blank copy books, minor objections 
to, 66 

and class teaching, 71 

Blotting paper, necessity of, 80 
Body, hygienic position of, 82 
Bohemian School Board's Instruc- 
tions, 92 

CALIGRAPHIC merits of vertical 

writing, 39 

Caligraphy, qualities of good, 27 
Capitals (model alphabet of), 96 
Catalogue of recent works, 127 
" City Press " on writing, 8 
Class teaching, general instructions 

for, 109 

Classes of letters, details of, 97-100 
Classification of capitals, 103 

- - small letters, 96-7 
Compactness, 52 
of vertical writing, 35 
Comparison of lengths of outlines, 33 
Congresses and Councils, 124 
Continent, decrees of Boards, etc., 


Continuity in writing, 51 
Copy books, kinds of, 56 

shapes of, 77 

writing specimens, 4, 40 

DEFECTS of blank books summarised, 

Delusion of slope, 28 
Desks, kinds of, 74 

widths of, 75 

'' Detroit Free Press," 9 
Diigram of eyes, 18, 87 
Diagrams of contrasts, 131 

legibility, 28-30 

lengths, 33 

- positions, 16, 17 
Directions to writers, HO 
Diversity of positions, 127 
Drawing and writing, 68 

E, different forms of, 54 

Early Saxon handwriting, 1 12 

Ease in teaching, 36 

Economical merits of vertical writing, 


Economy in space, 34 
Educational merits of vertical writing, 


Elizabeth, Queen, writing of, 131 
Elizabethan period specimens, 132 
Enthusiasm in teaching, 106 
Example of non-continuity, 51 
Experiments in Vienna schools, 22 
Engraver's hair line models, 55 

FASHION in writing, 12 

First English sloping alphabet, 116 

Focus, perfect in vertical writing,, 


GERMAN alphabets, two, 22 

cabinet, edict of, 27 

handwriting, in 
Government instructions, 31 

HANDWRITING and hygiene, 26 
Headline copy books, 56 
Heights of long letters, 54 



History of vertical writing, ill 

How to write, no 

Hygienic defects of sloping writing, 

14, 158 

merits of vertical writing, 38 

IMPERFECT models, 58 
Ink, quality of, 79 
Inspectors, etc., 125 
Irregular models, 62 
Italian style, introduced, ill 

JAVAL, Dr., 14, 19, 120 
Jolly, Inspector, 77 
Junction of letters, 51 

KING, G. B., on continuity, 51 

LEGIBILITY of writing, 27 
Leibrich, Dr., statements by, 157 
**Locke's system, 105 
Long letters, lengths of. 54 
Lorenz, Professor A., opinion, 22 

MINIMUM of imitation, 68 
Models or copies, 60 
Movement on Continent, 1 1 8, 119 
Mulhauser's method, 104 
Multum in parvo, IIO 
Myopia and sloping writing, 19, 87 
blackboard copies 67 

NELSON, Lord, writing of, in two 

styles, 133 

Norman handwriting, in 
Nuremburg, lecture at, 142 

OPHTHALMOLOGY and vertical writ- 
ing, 19 

Ornamental penmanship, 94 
Orthopaedics and vertical writing, 22 
Other merits of vertical writing, 37 

PENS and penholders, 80 
Perpendicular writing in schools, 

Position in vertical writing, 16, 17 

of copy books, 84 
the pen, 90 

QUALITIES of good writing, 27 
REPRODUCTION of pupils' copies, 59 

R, variations in form of, 53 
Report of Vienna Commission, 19 
Resolution of London Congress, 1 8 
Reuss, Professor A., opinion of, 19 
Revival of vertical writing, 117 

S, different forms of, 54 

Scharff, Dr., Flensberg, 151 

Schenk, Dr., on scoliosis, 86 

Sc' olars' writing, specimens of, 134 

Schubert, Dr., experiments of, 48 

his researches, 23 

lecture by, 142 

" Secretary" letters or alphabet, Il6 
Seidl, Miss Caroline, letter of, 121 
Shapes of certain letters, 53 
Shortsighted pupils. 67 
Shortsightedness, 157 
Size of writing, 48 
Slates, evils of, 76 

use of, 76 

Sloping writing, specimens of, 4, 131 
Smith, Dr. Noble, statement by, 158 
Specialists and educationists, 124 
Specimens of vertical writing, 40 
Speed of vertical writers, 32, 34, 153 

writing, 31 

Spinal curvature and sloping writing, 
19, 86, 158 

TABLE of merits of vertical writing, 38 

Teacher's objection, 21 

Temporary models, 65 

Thickness of writing, 50 

Tritton, Mr. , at the Mansion House, 8 


VARYING angles of slope, 26 
Vertical writing, a specific, 14 

revival of, 117 
Vienna, Council, I 54 

WHOLE-ARM movement, 49 
Writer's cramp, 38, 50 
Writing and drawing, 68 

Hygiene, 10 

as it now is, I 

of teachers, 60, 72 

Western Union Telegraph Opera- 
tors, 31 

Harison's Vertical . . 
. . Penmanship Pads. 


The purpose of these pads is to enable the teacher 
to give as much practice as may be deemed necessary 
with any particular set copy, the pupil writing one, 
two or more sheets, if it is thought advisable to do 
so, before exposing a new model. It is advisable, 
also, to avoid the discouragement, incident to failure. 
By the use of these pads failures may be removed, 
and a new copy sheet used, or several of them, until 
it is deemed advisable to proceed to the next step. 
Pads will be made to order in any of the different 
rulings that may be desired ; when not otherwise 
ordered, the double guide lines will be furnished on 
the first numbers of the series only, single ruling on 
the higher numbers the "finishing" numbers to be 
on unruled pads. 

The copies are compiled from the JACKSON 
system for the reason that it is considered well to 
follow what has been found best after many years 

The position considered best is that assumed in 
drawing, viz : With the body straight before the 
desk, the copy slightly to the right and set squarely 
before the pupil, the pen held so that both points of 
the nib are in constant action, the pen handle inclined 
slightly away from the direction of the shoulder. 


59 Fifth Avenue, N. Y. City. 



"One Piece " Patent Adjustable School Book Covers. 

One Piece Adjustable Book Covers, 


ltMrtmcni of: 


. Q*. 

. .,. 

Mr. William B. Harisen, 
3 Bast 14th Street. 
Kw York City, 

Dear Sir: 

Some time since we received at the Bureau a pacXage of yent* new 
adjustable book covers* You ask whether I consider the device of value for 
public school use as it has been recommended on the grounds of sanitation. 1 
think that the point is well taken, and the simplicity and ingenuity of th 
device is something astonishing to a person who has often experimented on the 
proper form for a convenient book cover- It deserves to come into general use 
where book covers are used* 

' Very respectfully, 

Price per 100 Delivered to Any Address U. S., Canada or England. 

No. i. Fits i6mo., I2mo. or small 8vo. - - $1.50 

2. Fits 8vo., small geographies, etc., - 

3. Fits 4to., large geographies, etc., 

Contract Price to Boards of Education. 

In lots of 1,000 or more with labels. 
No. i. $12.50 No. 2. $17.50 No 3. 






8vo, Cloth. Introduction Price, 75 Cents. 

IT is a generally conceded fact that any language may 
be taught more' successfully by employing that lan- 
guage only. 

Gouin has demonstrated that the most direct method 
is that associating tbe object or action with the spoken 
words, thus giving a mind picture and leading to thought 
in the language to be acquired; also he lays great stress 
upon the systematic building up of a vocabulary by fre- 
quent repetition and use of the simple words and phrases, 
practically as a child first learns to talk. 

For the purpose of -teaching English to foreigners, 
especially where classes may be composed of several nation- 
alities, as in our-large city public schools, the want of a 
practical method, capable of being used by an English 
teacher has long been felt It is quite impossible to obtain 
teachers with sufficient command of the several languages, 
as well as English, to prepare the children of our foreign pop- 
ulation so that they may take their place in the regular 
classes ; in recognition of this fact the Fore'gner's Manual 
has been prepared. 

French Songs and Games, 


Verbal Quartettes, 



The aim of the FRENCH SONGS AND GAMES is to 

amuse and at the some time familiarize pupils with 

the niceties of French pronunciation. The songs 

and many of the games are with music and 

are a careful selection from the most 

popular in use in Paris. 

"VERBAL QUARTETTES" is a game to be played in 

French German or English, for the purpose of 

promoting conversation in either language; 

it is similar to the game of 



By the same author. Per set, 50 cents. French, Spanish, 

and English game. To be played in a similar 

way to Verbal Quartettes. 

Any of above mailed upon receipt of price. 


59 Fifth Avenue, New York. 

RETURN TO the circulation desk of any 
University of California Library 
or to the 

Bldg. 400, Richmond Field Station 
University of California 
Richmond, CA 94804-4698 

2-month loans may be renewed by calling 

(415) 642-6753 
1-year loans may be recharged by bringing books 

to NRLF 
Renewals and recharges may be made 4 days 

prior to due date 



PEC -'-1991 

RECCIRC OCT 24 1991 

YC 49754